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PIA Press Release
2007/12/06

DSWD bats for comprehensive program to hasten rehab of human trafficking victims

By Renee F. De Guzman

San Fernando City, La Union (6 December) -- To hasten recovery and integration to the community by the human trafficking victim-survivors, the Department of Social Welfare Services (DSWD) is pushing for a comprehensive program that includes an improved delivery of services which are responsive to the needs of the victims.

In Ilocos, DSWD Regional Director Margarita V. Sampang initiated the move via a consultation–dialogue with the 15 victim-survivors of human trafficking who are in the custody of the DSWD-Region I and just finished a series of psychological interventions.

The victims who are all minors aging between 13 to 17 years old are all from the Visayas. They were joined in the dialogue by the Municipal and City Social Welfare and Development Officers in the region, representatives from the Department of Labor and Employment, Police officers and other partners.

The dialogue was intended to identify need-based areas, areas that need improvement, new ideas and approaches for efficient and integrated delivery of services to the human trafficking victims.

Mrs. Sampang emphasized to the victim-survivors during the dialogue, not to blame themselves as they are just victims of ignorance and lack of awareness of the modus operandi of illegal recruiters.

"Your cases should serve as eye opener to other youth and individuals not to become the next victim of human trafficking", she added.

On the other hand, Director Finardo Cabilao of DSWD Central Office noted in his message the increasing incidence in the country of human trafficking or commoditizing human beings, including such activities as selling of body organs, mail order brides, hard labor and prostitution which are becoming customary in nature.

Pushing for a comprehensive program that will respond to the needs of each victims, as well as improve the recovery of the victims and integration to the society, Cabilao said that it is important to identify and address areas of concerns and areas that needs improvement.

Human trafficking is a serious crime as stipulated in Republic Act 9208 known as "The Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003".

Trafficking involves recruitment, transport, harbor, or sale of persons within or across national borders for the prostitution, domestic servitude and slavery-like practices. Trafficked persons are also victims of organ removal and sale.

Violators of R.A. 9208 can be penalized from 1 year to life imprisonment and payment of damages from P100,000 to P5 million.

Cases of human trafficking can be filed up to 20 years after they are committed. This "prescriptive period" is counted from the day the victim is delivered or released from the conditions of bondage. (PIA La Union) [top]

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