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Feature: Human trafficking classified as major crime

Davao City (16 November) -- Former Judge Adoracion Cruz-Avisado said human trafficking is a major crime with penalties ranging to life imprisonment and P5-million in fines.

Trafficking involves like recruitment, transport, transfer, and harboring of persons by threat, force or coercion or abduction, fraud or deception for exploitation.

In a recent forum sponsored by the Womynet group in cooperation with the Davao City Water District, Judge Avisado said the most prevalent forms of sex trafficking are prostitution, sex tourism, and mail order brides including bonded labor and domestic work.

In a 2000 comparative study on women's trafficked through migration, the United Nation stated that an estimated of four million women were trafficked from one country to another and within countries.

Child sexual exploitation is growing with researches showing tht some travel agencies, and child protectors are also involved in sex tourism or play a part in "organized sex tours."

Avisado called for measures to prevent human trafficking to protect the victims and to prosecute traffickers and buyers.

She said no government should promote prostitution, whether through legalization or decriminalization of the sex industry, or through the acceptance of mail-order bride businesses or sex tourism enterprises.

She also called on governments to eliminate structural factors that push women into trafficking networks such as poverty and gender discrimination.

At the same time, Avisado said economic policies that marginalize women or discriminate against them in public employment, for example, should be abolished.

The government should also support effective public education and awareness raising campaigns on trafficking while promoting the replication of best practices that are gender-sensitive and women-oriented, she said.

Government should also improve the capability of NGOs to address trafficking issues. Laws relating to recruitment agencies in the countries or origin should be reviewed, and mechanisms put in place, to recognize both domestic and international trafficking, particularly for sexual exploitation, she said. (PIA XI) [top]

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