POVERTY and the promise of a good life make poor people vulnerable to illegal recuitment and human trafficking.

This was pointed out yesterday by Cebu City Assistant Prosecutor Maria Luisa Ratilla, a member of the Inter-Agency Task Force Against Human Trafficking.

Ratilla said that in most cases, victims of illegal recruitment and human trafficking, whether domestic or abroad, do not know what will happen to them until they realized that they have been victimized.

Assistant City Prosecutor Maria Theresa Casiño, another task force member, said 38 cases were filed in court against human traffickers in Central Visayas in 2012. Of the total, eight were in Cebu City; two in Cebu Province; two in Mandaue City; two in Lapu-Lapu City; two in Bogo City; seven in Dumaguete City; and 11 in Negros Oriental Province.

Ratilla and Casiño were guests in a forum yesterday, which was facilitated by the Philippine Information Agency (PIA).

Ratilla said that in the old Anti-Human Trafficking Law (RA 9208) which was passed in 2003, the names of both the human trafficker and the victim were confidential. But in the expanded law (RA 10364), which took effect last May 2013, the name of the suspected trafficker is no longer confidential.

Convictions

From 2003 until 2012, Casiño said, there were 93 convictions, 13 of which were in Central Visayas. Of the 13, 10 were from Cebu City, two from Lapu-Lapu City and one from Toledo City.

Casiño said that under RA 10364, a person convicted of qualified trafficking can be sentenced to life imprisonment and fined from P1 million to P3 million.

Ratilla said the PNP and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) are also in the task force.

Meanwhile, the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) under the Office of the President is conducting a national awareness campaign on the realizities of international migration, intermarriages and human trafficking in Central Visayas.

Aileen Macapili of CFO Cebu said they will launched the Community Edcuation Program (CEP) in the cities of Cebu and Mandaue yesterday. The program will also be implemented in other cities in Central Visayas.

Macapili said CEP aims to raise public awareness on various issues concerning migration, inter-marriage, and existing government policies and programs directed against illegal recruitment, documentation fraud and human trafficking.

Macapili said Filipinos going overseas with foreigners either as spouse or partner must get CFO guidance, counseling and registration.

Director Evelia Durato of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration urged overseas jobseekers to make sure that their recruitment agencies are accredited to avoid fraud.

Source: http://www.sunstar.com.ph/cebu/local-news/2013/06/25/38-cases-filed-against-traffickers-289113

Category: news