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PIA Press Release

Women comprise 75.1% of human trafficking victims in Region 8 last year

Tacloban City (March 6) -- About 75.1 percent or 139 of the 185 trafficked victims served by the Department of Social Welfare and Development in Eastern Visayas in 2006 were women, the National Statistical Coordination Board here reported.

This is a cause of major concern because persons are being trafficked domestically from poor rural areas to major urban centers in the country especially Metro Manila.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development provide the victims with various services including counseling, orientation on Republic Act 9208, provision of transport assistance so that they could go home to their families, food items, hot meals and clothing, referral to the respective City or municipal Social Welfare and Development Officers for monitoring and provision of other support services and assistance in filing a case against their trafficker.

The statistical data provided by the Department of Social Welfare and Development to NSCB showed that the number of trafficked victims who were served in Eastern Visayas significantly declined from 272 in 2005 to only 185 in the year 2006.

However, the victims from Region 8 increased from 108 in 2005 to 132 in 2006 or a 22.2 percent increase. What is most appalling is that more than half or 54.6% of the total trafficked victims in the region in 2006 were children ranging from 13-17years old.

Of the 132 victims of human trafficking in 2006, Northern Samar posted the most number of 57, where 50 are women and the remaining 7 are men. The province of Samar posted the second highest number of victims, 49 women and 6 men or a total of 55. Victims from other regions numbered 53, about 28 of who are women and 25 are men.

Victims originating from other Regions particularly from Regions 10 and 11, comprising 60.3% of trafficked victims in 2005, dropped by more than two-thirds or 67.7%, from 164 in 2005 to 53 in 2006. The drop may be attributed to the government's intensified anti-trafficking efforts, as well as the visibility of the interception points in the region's major ports.

The victims were intercepted from the ports of Allen, Northern Samar, and Liloan, Southern Leyte through the staff and volunteers of the Alliance of Networks for Assistance to Strandees (ANGKAS). There were also victims captured in Matnog, Sorsogon through the Visayan Forum Foundation, Inc.. With the situation and considering the geographical location of Eastern Visayas, DSWD Region 8 was identified as pilot area for implementation of RA9208 funded by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

Trafficking in persons is a global problem that affects thousands of Filipinos, mostly women and children every year. In May 26, 2003,RA 9208 or the "Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003", meant to protect persons especially women and children from sexual exploitation and forced labor in the country and abroad, was signed into law.

Trafficking in Persons also known as "human trafficking" is a form of modern-day slavery wherein traffickers often prey on individuals who are poor, frequently unemployed or under-employed, predominantly women and children who are often lured with false promises of good jobs and better lives, but then forced to work under brutal and inhuman conditions and are exploited for sexual purposes. (PIA 8) [top]

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