Gov’t should bolster drive against human trafficking in times of crisis – CHR

Published July 30, 2020, 2:15 PM

by Czarina Nicole Ong Ki

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) is urging the government to beef up its efforts against human trafficking particularly at this time with many Filipinos driven to desperation succumbing to the same.

Commission on Human Rights (MANILA BULLETIN)
Commission on Human Rights

CHR Spokesperson Atty. Jacqueline de Guia pointed this out during the observance of World Day Against Trafficking in Persons on Thursday, explaining joblessness as with continuous home confinement as contributing factors in cybersex trafficking and online sexual exploitation of children (OSEC) reaching new heights.

The observance of World Day Against Trafficking in Persons this year highlighted the essential role of frontline workers –  social workers, labor inspectors, law enforcement officers and prosecutors, health workers, and non-government organization (NGO) staff, in combating the silent crisis.

“Despite the restrictions and the risks, they exert their best effort to find the victims; provide them with essential support; and assist them in the often arduous and difficult process of accessing justice, healing, and rebuilding their lives,” said de Guia.

Addressing human trafficking during the time of a health crisis requires sufficient capacity and support from the government, de Guia added, because human trafficking reflects its failure to protect the most vulnerable.

“We urge the government to equally channel resources for the rescue and protection of victims by equipping and supporting the first responders. As the maneuvering of traffickers becomes more insidious, raising public awareness and encouraging vigilance are also essential in tackling the problem,” she said.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has dubbed the Philippines the “global epicenter” of the live-stream sexual abuse trade, which has victimized mostly children. 

Even migrant Filipino workers are prone to exploitation and trafficking, especially given the current volatile global economy and the halting of international travel, said de Guia, noting many of them are trapped with their traffickers and abusers, particularly those in domestic servitude.

“On this World Day against Trafficking in Persons, let us renew our commitment and step up our response to ensure justice, recovery, and rebuilding of the lives and dignity of all victims of human trafficking,” she urged.