Gov’t moves to strengthen anti-trafficking efforts

Published January 29, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Minerva Newman

CEBU CITY—The Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) and the local Approach Consortium composed of the partnership among the Children’s Legal Bureau (CLB), Bidlisiw Foundation, Inc. (BFI) and the Fellowship for Organizing Endeavors (FORGE) are now at the forefront in strengthening the fight against trafficking in persons in the Philippines.

These groups launched the “Strength Counter Trafficking In Persons (CTIP) project here on January 27 with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Department of Justice (DOJ)-IACAT deputy executive director Atty. Yvette Coronel, in her presentation, identified four strategic priorities to ensure sustainability in the implementation of the CTIP project and these are under the frameworks of Prevention, Protection, Prosecution and Partnership (4Ps).

“As we come to the midway point of the IACAT’s current national strategic action plan covering the periods 2017-2022, the IACAT has identified the remaining work that needs to be done,” Coronel said.

Coronel said that building on the successes of the partnerships created under the Phil-Am Fund managed by the Gerry Roxas Foundation, the IACAT aims to provide support for local systems to better respond to trafficking.

Prevention pillar

Under the Prevention pillar, activities and services of the Philippine Government are geared towards capacitating service providers and creating increased community awareness and education regarding human trafficking to enhance detection and reporting to support services.

Coronel added that the key to respond to trafficking incidences in the communities is to recognize and identify potential signs of trafficking because in this kind of crime, “identifying vulnerabilities is paramount.”

There is a greater need to intensify local government units’ engagement and capacitating them on how to respond to trafficking incidences in their communities.

Coronel said the fight not just entails crafting ordinances but putting in place preventive mechanisms in areas where it is most crucial.

For those areas with ports and seaports, Coronel said it could mean putting up helpdesks in the critical entry and exit points while those that are transit areas it could mean putting up halfway houses or shelters for the victims, she added.

For those LGUs that are sources of trafficking victims, it may mean massive information dissemination on the dangers of trafficking. Each community is different, and Coronel hopes that through the Strength CTIP project these will be better realized.

She said that since the passage of the anti-trafficking law, clear progress has been achieved in the area of reintegration programs.

One concrete step is the implementation in 2010 of the guidelines of the National Referral System for the provision of services to trafficked persons during pre-return, return and post-return periods to ensure the recovery and reintegration of the trafficked persons.

These have been supplemented with other tools such as the DSWD Manual on the Recovery and Reintegration of Victims-Survivors of Trafficking, the Guidelines on the Protection of the Rights of Trafficked Children, and the Guidelines on the Protection of the Rights of Trafficked Women, Coronel said.