On Human Trafficking

If the U.S. Justice Department is right, Human Trafficking is the third largest criminal enterprise worldwide. According to United Nations Development Fund for Women Executive Director Noeleen Heyzer, human trafficking generates an estimated $9.5 billion per year in terms of profit. Furthermore, she says:

Trafficking of persons includes prostitution, debt bondage, forced labor and slavery, and exploitation of children as workers, soldiers or sex slaves… Data from the International Labor Organization show that the migrant population currently stands at 120 million, of which around 12.3 million are enslaved in forced or bonded labor or sexual servitude at any one time…

More of it in the ADB article here.

[08/25 Update] – A related PDI article yesterday adds that the Philippines is classified as a Tier 2 country by the United States Justice Department. Tier 1 countries are those which complies with “the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.” Tier 2 countries fail to comply but are making efforts to do so. Tier 3 countries on the other hand are not fully compliant with such standards.

In their article, “Dealing with Human Trafficking,” Luz Rimban and Yvonne Chua takes a look at the domestic extent of the global issue. Consider the following:

  • The Bahay Silungan Sa Daungan (BSSD) takes care of human trafficking victims at the Sasa Wharf in Davao City. If they’re to be believed, “as many as 20 passengers headed for Manila” per trip are “potential victims of human trafficking syndicates.”
  • The main factors contributing to the problem are the “grinding poverty in Mindanao” and the “promise of employment in Luzon.”
  • According to the  United Nations, the Philippines accounts for around 600,000 to 800,000 persons. Of this number, most of the victims are minors and children; a fact which is consistent with the ADB article.
  • There are pertinent laws and agencies to address the issue such as the passing of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act in 2003, (RA 9208,) and the subsequent creation of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking, (IACAT.) Since RA 9208’s enactment however, only 8 cases have been won by government lawyers. The all too common issue of victims fearing the reprisal of recruiters are pointed out as a common reason for witnesses backing out.
  • Peak season for transporting recruits include summer, semestral and Christmas breaks when the victims can merge with travelling students to escape detection of human trafficking authorities.

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