The Anti-Trafficking in Persons Local Technical Group and the American Center for International Labor Solidarity under the Strengthening the Enabling Environment to Improve Response to Trafficking in Persons and Related Cases (STEER) conducted a consultation meeting at Hotel Alejandro in Tacloban City, on Monday, January 7, 2008 and resolved to improve the coordination among the various stakeholders in government and in the private sector in the Region in order to effectively implement the Anti-Trafficking Law in the Region.
The participants from the 6 provinces of Eastern Visayas agreed that there is a need to improve the database maintenance and operations through expanded submission of Trafficking in Persons data and information for the database. The target is for the submission and encoding of at least 200 trafficking complaint standard reporting form. It was observed that very few of the actual cases of trafficking in persons are reported.
The STEER project also aims to encourage the local government units with the most number of persons being trafficked to have trained local persons in charge of databanking, start local databases,and allocate budget for the database IECs. The project also identified law schools and possible private law groups and practitioners who will commit volunteer services for TIP victims in terms of legal assistance and counselling.
In order to address the problem on the transportation of the victim in going home, the group identified possible partnerships and signing of memorandum of agreement with various transport industries in the region including bus companies and shipping companies plying in the region. Aside from monitoring the major ports in the Region, it was suggested that the monitoring agencies must also look into the minor ports which the traffickers are now using.
Through the STEER project, tarpaulins informing the victims the agencies and non-government organizations which could be of assistance to them. These tarpaulins will be posted in ports, terminals and places which are accessible and visible so that the victims will know that there are organizations they can call in times of distress.
Statistics show that in 2002, about 7.58 million Filipinos lived and worked in foreign countries. About 1.6 million of them were irregular migrants and are believed to have been victims of Trafficking in Persons. About 1,006 cases on trafficking in persons have been recorded from 1993 to 2001. It is believe that there are more actual cases and that a more systematic reporting and recording of data is needed.
Around 53% of the victims are women and 25% of these women victims were forced to land in prostitution.
Adapted from: "Advocates unite for effective implementation of anti-trafficking law in Eastern Visayas." Phillipine Information Agency. 8 January 2008.
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