Legarda: Vigilance, Partnership with Int’l Agencies Needed to Combat Trafficking in Yolanda-hit Areas

May 9, 2014

Senator Loren Legarda today renewed her call to Philippine authorities for greater vigilance and continued partnerships with foreign agencies in combatting trafficking especially in areas devastated by typhoon Yolanda.


Legarda, principal sponsor of the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act, said that with rehabilitation and recovery efforts in Yolanda-affected areas still underway, survivors continue to be at great risk of falling prey to human trafficking syndicates.


“We understand that rebuilding lives and communities is already a daunting task in itself. But the scale of devastation and grief that Yolanda left requires greater effort from our law enforcers to ensure that while the survivors overcame the wrath of the typhoon, they will not fall victim to other tragic events such as human trafficking,” the Senator stressed.


“We see here the intersecting forces of natural hazards and human greed, and how they threaten those who are already marginalized. This is an issue of utmost importance,” she added.


Legarda also said that since trafficking is a transnational crime, close coordination with international law enforcement agencies is crucial.


She noted that several countries, including the United States, United Kingdom and Australia, are already helping Philippine authorities through the conduct of joint operations, assistance on investigation and training of law enforcers and social workers.


“Human trafficking is a complex crime and many syndicates are using technology to intensify their operations. Heightened vigilance, strict enforcement of the law and close coordination with local agencies and international organizations are needed to combat trafficking. There should also be massive information and education campaign against trafficking,” said Legarda.


Republic Act 10364, the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act, improves institutional mechanisms and responses to human trafficking by strengthening policies, improving enforcement and enhancing inter-agency coordination both at the local and international levels.