Solon bats for special court for human trafficking
By Ninfa B Quirante
Catbalogan, Samar (December 3) -- Representative Mel Senen Sarmiento of the first district of Samar pushes for the creation of a special court to try human traffickers.
During today's closing ceremony of the International Justice Mission (IJM) stint in Samar (with Calbayog City as base), Sarmiento expressed this desire in a message read by City Councilor Julius Mancol.
"Illegal recruiters live among us, they capitalize on sugar coated promises," the message read.
He added that when the victim yields, they are mostly lured into prostitution, inhuman labor and other adverse conditions.
"Recruiters promise you anything and everything, and the victims fall prey because they are poor."
He said that the Philippines is close to Somalia and Myanmar as regards trafficking, merchandising their people like cattle.
"Vigilance in the grassroots is very important," the solon's message added.
He made mention that in Calbayog City, there are established groups like Bantay Bugaw and Bantay Abuso-Network working with IJM and the local government in the fight against human trafficking.
Sarmiento said that the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003 (Republic Act No. 9208) provide that the identity of both victim and suspect are not revealed. He calls this unfair.
"How can we warn victims?"
"If congress can create courts for drug traffickers why not a court for human traffickers too?"
Sarmiento was then mayor of Calbayog when IJM started its mission and his ascent to the halls of congress has made his commitment to fight human traffickers become more passionate. (PIA-Samar) [top]