Today, July 30, is the “World Day Against Trafficking in Persons.”
With the theme “Victims’ Voices Lead the Way,” the Commission on Human Rights said human trafficking is a grave violation of the rights and dignity of victims, and “they are often misunderstood in their journey towards healing.”
“Because of this, it is important to include the voice of survivors in the fight against human trafficking,” it said.
In its social media account, the CHR said: “This victim-centered approach in crafting measures towards preventing the crimes, rescuing the victims, and supporting their recovery and rehabilitation emphasizes the value of listening and learning from survivors.”
“It also helps ensure that misunderstanding of their experience, which may lead to re-victimization and stigmatization, is prevented,” it said.
The commission urged the government to proactively address the dangers of the evolving practice of human trafficking, which has sadly worsened because of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
With the economic slump, there has been an exponential rise in cases of online sexual abuse and exploitation of children over the past year, it said.
It cited the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) report that there was a 264.6 percent increase in Online Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children (OSAEC) cases from May 2019 to March 2020 alone.
The CHR expressed hope that both the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) will strengthen their efforts to combat human trafficking especially now that they have been given increased resources.
“CHR also hopes that the survivors’ voice is heard in all actions and policies pertaining to trafficking. Sufficient support from concerned agencies must also be provided to ensure their full healing and recovery,” it added.
For its part, the CHR has established the “e-Report sa Gender Ombud” online platform to monitor and respond to cases of gender-based violence, including online sexual abuse and exploitation of children, during the quarantine period.
The platform can be reached via https://gbvcovid.report.