The Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) through the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) and the World Youth Alliance Asia Pacific (WYAAP) recently entered into an Agreement to educate the younger generation about the pressing issue of human trafficking.

The signing of the Memorandum of Agreement was held at the CFO Manila. Present at the said signing were Secretary Imelda M. Nicolas and Undersecretary Mary Grace A. Tirona from the CFO; and Regional Director Lord Leomer Pomperada and Ms. Zarina San Jose from the WYAAP.

The CFO, a government agency under the Office of the President, is a member of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) and the Chair of the IACAT- Advocacy and Communications Committee (ADVOCOM). As the Chair of the IACAT-ADVOCOM, the CFO is tasked to conduct an anti-trafficking community education and information campaign program in partnership with non-government organizations. This is in line with the core message of the IACAT, “Laban kontra Human

Trafficking, Laban nating Lahat.”, which engages everyone including the youth and children sector in the fight against human trafficking.

The WYAAP, a regional branch of the World Youth Alliance, is a global coalition of young people com¬mitted to promote the dignity of a person among youth from developed and developing nations with around one million members through affiliated organizations and 40,000 individual members in 160 countries. The organization trains young people to work at the regional and international levels to influence policy and culture. WYAAP programs are divided into three (3) areas: Advocacy, Education and Culture.

Part of the Agreement between CFO and WYAAP is the inclusion of the anti-human trafficking advocacy in the WYAAP core program for the further promotion of human dignity. One of the commitments of the CFO is to provide support and guidance to the WYAAP in developing their advocacy and communications plan on anti-trafficking. Their initial project is the conduct of a national training workshop to foster the awareness of the WYAAP youth leaders on the salient provisions of the Republic Act 9208 as amended by RA 10364 or the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act and other laws related to anti-trafficking of women and children. Through this training workshop, the youth leaders are expected to come-up with their own action plans to be implemented in their respective communities to ensure the dissemination of anti-trafficking information is carried-out up to the grassroots.

Human trafficking affects and concerns everyone especially youth and children who are considered the vulnerable sector. The United States Department of State classified the Philippines as a source, transit and destination country for human trafficking victims. In 2011, the International Labor Organization estimated that there are 3.2 million child laborers in the Philippines and 3 million of them are in the worst forms of child labor.