[In the news] IBP volunteer lawyers to help protect OFWs, prosecute human traffickers – www.mb.com.ph
IBP volunteer lawyers to help protect OFWs, prosecute human traffickers
By FRANCIS T. WAKEFIELD
MANILA, Philippines — Lawyers are volunteering to help indigent victims to prosecute human traffickers who exploit them.
The volunteer lawyers will be part of the Anti-Trafficking in Person Action Teams (ATIPAT) under the Center for Legal Aid of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP).
The IBP has also established an Overseas Filipino Workers-Legal Assistance Unit (OFW-LAU) at its offices in Pasig City where victims of the trafficking can seek help to get justice.
The OFW-LAU and the ATIPAT were launched last Monday in the program held at the IBP office in Pasig attended by high-ranking members of government, IBP member lawyers from different chapters nationwide, and non-governmental organizations or NGOs.
According to lawyer Rosario T. Setias-Reyes, IBP National Center for Legal Aid (NCLA) deputy director, the formation of the IBP-ATIPAT is a major step towards ensuring that trafficking victims have adequate access to justice against criminals who exploited them.
In an interview, Reyes said the IBP-ATIPAT is an elite group of IBP volunteer trial lawyers and staff who will provide competent, free and maximum possible legal service in the effective prosecution of trafficking cases involving indigent victims of human trafficking as part of the Developmental Legal Aid Program of the IBP.
Reyes said the IBP-ATIPAT will improve the administration of justice and enable the Bar to discharge its public responsibility more effectively in the fight against human trafficking in the Philippines through the provision of competent, free, and comprehensive legal services to indigent victims of human trafficking in all trafficking hot spots nationwide.
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