Austria stands with PH against human trafficking; launches year-long campaign

Published October 12, 2021, 2:18 PM

by Betheena Unite

Austria continues to stand with the Philippines against human trafficking by launching a year-long campaign to combat human trafficking and sexual exploitation starting this month.

(Photo courtesy of the Austrian Embassy Manila)

The Austrian Embassy in Manila will launch the “We Stand As One: Campaign Against Human Trafficking” in partnership with the Voice of the Free (VoF), following the United Nations (UN) 2021 theme: ‘”Victims’ Voices Lead the Way.”

The initiative is part of Austria’s continued commitment to promote women’s and children’s rights and combat sexual exploitation in all its forms.

It aims to raise public awareness for human trafficking and sexual exploitation and the plight of its victims through a series of events “that focus on survivors and target groups to reduce vulnerabilities, prevent future crimes and enhance cooperation between state and non-state actors at all levels towards a more victim-centered and effective approach.”

Slated events include interactive webinars, expert seminars, and panel discussions as well as film screenings and creative workshops in partnership with stakeholders in the education sector, civil society organizations, businesses in the tourism sector, and media, among others in Austria and the Philippines.

“COVID-19 and its socio-economic impact have exacerbated the existing stark inequalities of children, young girls and women in many parts of the world and amplified their risk to trafficking, sexual exploitation and abuse, especially online and as they are exposed to the new vulnerabilities of home-based learning,” Austrian Ambassador Bita Rasoulian stressed.

“This campaign will help to raise awareness for the scope and impact of sexual exploitation and abuse of children in all its forms and the need to adequately respond to this growing transnational threat through urgent action at a local, regional and global level,” Rasoulian added.

It was disclosed that among the highlights of the year-long campaign is the intercultural creative workshop facilitated by Austrian artist Alexandra Fruhstorfer in collaboration with Filipino artists and Salzburg Global Seminar fellows Ralph Eya and Reymart Cerin.

Designed for human trafficking victims and survivors sheltered at the shelter of NGO Voice of the Free and ECPAT Philippines, the creative workshop “aims to empower the survivors by allowing them to find their voice and lead the combat against human trafficking through creative expression.”

The “We Stand As One: Campaign Against Human Trafficking’’ also forms part of the numerous activities organized by the Austrian Embassy in 2021 to celebrate 75 years of excellent bilateral relations between Austria and the Philippines and the close fraternal bonds between its two peoples.

The webinar series will be held on Oct.15 and 29.