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Legarda Calls For Intensified Efforts vs Human Trafficking

July 29, 2015

In observance of the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons (July 30), Senator Loren Legarda underscored the need to strengthen the implementation of the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act (R.A. 10364) to address the problem of human trafficking and other forms of modern-day slavery.

Legarda, principal sponsor of the law, said “Thousands of Filipinos fall prey to human traffickers each year. Behind these numbers are stories of individuals whose freedom of choice is impaired by desperation or helplessness, thus rendering them vulnerable to exploitation. Victims are subjected to forced labor, domestic servitude and forced marriage, organ removal and sale, sex trade, and exploitation of children.”

According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, an estimated 2.5 million people are trapped in modern-day slavery. Men, women and children fall into the hands of traffickers both in their own countries and abroad.

Meanwhile, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) listed 1,376 victims of human trafficking in the Philippines in 2012 alone. But there could be more unreported cases.

The Senator noted that there is a need to improve strategies in arresting human traffickers by training prosecutors and law enforcers to prevent cross-border trafficking.

“The large number of Filipinos facing death row in other parts of the world for various crimes highlights the need for stronger support, access to justice and remedies and protection of overseas Filipino workers in all stages of recruitment and employment in order to prevent trafficked persons from being duped into servitude with the false promise of a well-paid job,” Legarda stressed.

“Trafficking in persons is a complex problem and trafficking modes and patterns continue to evolve over time as perpetrators of the crime seek to outflank policies and regulations of government. We have already improved the law. The vital step now is to strengthen enforcement and prosecution,” Legarda concluded.