TACLOBAN CITY- Illegal recruitment and trafficking of persons particularly women and children continue to plague the world, not sparing the weak and hard-up Filipinos.
This was stated by DSWD Regional Director Restituto Macuto in the interaction with media as a kick-off activity for the upcoming observance of the “World’s Celebration of Trafficking Against Persons Day,” on July 30.
Thus, in their bid to stop the transporting of people to the profit of illegal recruiters, some members of the Regional Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Trafficking in Persons (RIACAT) met the press to seek help in raising public’s consciousness and understanding about the ill-effects of forced recruitment and transport of innocent victims across the archipelago.
This act is termed trafficking in persons, which is prohibited under Republic Act 10364.
Director Macuto further disclosed that from January to March 2018 alone, about 32 persons from the city, had been recruited to work in a Fishing Industry in a far Luzon province.
“So sad, that one victim gathered it from co-workers that, some of their friends are sent out to feed Milk Fishes in far offshore fish cages, and when one is hit by lightning and die in the open sea, he is just left to decay,” Macuto shared.
“Fortunately, one recent victim was able to post on FB their sad plight, prompting the family in Tacloban to seek help of the authorities to recover their children who were recruited with some adults,” Macuto added.
As of press time, the victims were being transported back to Tacloban and to their respective families, though the stormy weather hampered their crossing the Matnog-Allen Strait.
Asked why trafficking of persons prevails despite the heightened advocacy, Atty. Rugy de Veyra of NBI-08, a RIACAT member replied that, it is just like asking why crimes do not stop.
“I think, for as long as poverty prevails, trafficking in persons stays, it is for economic reason that the illegal act is committed,” he added.
Nevertheless, Donabelle Abalo, Project Manager of Terre des Hommes (TDH), said that as a community, particularly the local government units, which they closely work with, we can do so much, if only every everyone cooperates for the safety and welfare of the most vulnerable members of society – women, children, young boys and girls.
“Prompt reporting to the police or social workers of illegal trafficking act, counts much,” she said.
Fondly called “Babet,” Abalo works with TDH, an international non-government organization, a leading Swiss child relief agency, that is largely involved in stopping child exploitation.
Spearheaded by DSWD08, PLAN International, DILG, PNP, NBI, CHR and City Social Welfare and Development Office, PIA among others compose the region’s RIACAT that is in its thick and thin for the upcoming July 30 Celebration.