5,000 Pinoys saved from traffickers

Social Welfare and Development Secretary Esperanza I. Cabral recently acknowledged the efforts of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) against human trafficking.
“Because of the BI’s efforts, nearly 5,000 Filipinos who are suspected victims of trafficking were prevented from leaving the country in the first semester of 2009,” Secretary Cabral added.
Statistics showed that some 2,976 of the passengers were intercepted at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), while 2,186 were offloaded at the Clark airport in Angeles City.
Also offloaded were 242 passengers at the Mactan-Cebu airport, 118 in Zamboanga and two in Subic. Secretary Cabral also expressed confidence that the Bureau’s strengthened vigilance will prevent the Philippines from being used as a transit point for human trafficking and illegal recruitment.
“The war against human trafficking of Filipinos will not end as long as there are fellow Filipinos who run and/or connive with trafficking syndicates to victimize those among us who seek better opportunities for themselves and their families,” Secretary Cabral emphasized.
“Human trafficking syndicates and illegal recruiters prey on poor, depressed and displaced persons in our provinces and cities, enticing them with good jobs. The victims eventually end up in prostitution dens or sweat shops. That’s why we must strictly enforce anti-trafficking laws to protect our people, especially the poor and vulnerable,” Secretary Cabral expounded.
Aside from undocumented Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), the foreigners who were barred from leaving were transit passengers suspected of being victims of human trafficking syndicates.
According to a recent report of the Visayan Forum Foundation, the concentration of human trafficking cases in the Philippines for the last three years is in Mindanao. The hotspot provinces in Mindanao include Cotabato, Maguindanao, and Davao.
Meanwhile, for the first quarter of 2009, the DSWD served some 216 victims of trafficking. Of these, 111 were children and 105 were women. They were assisted with various social services such as trauma therapy, crisis counseling and healing procedures.
Likewise, the DSWD intensifies its efforts to address the needs of the victims-survivors of trafficking, especially those abroad, through its regular program called the International Social Welfare Services for Filipino Nationals (ISWSFN).
“Under this program, the DSWD will designate social welfare attachés (SWAs) to Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Jeddah, Kuwait, Korea, Riyadh and Jordan to address the needs and concerns of our OFWs in these countries,” Secretary Cabral disclosed.

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