More Vigilance vs. Trafficking by Marriage
The clamor for upscaling the fight against Human Trafficking has resultedin tighter monitoring by concerned government agencies in the Inter-Agency Council Against Human Trafficking (IACAT). A statement released by the Commission on Filipinos Overseas clarified its role in the campaign ashead of the SubCommittee on Advocacy & Communication.
Despite the establishment by the CFO of the 1343 hotline against HumanTrafficking, many victims still do not file charges against theirrecruiters. To-date, the hotline has received 11,000 calls from local andoverseas sources, and CFO recorded 165 case calls, of which 52 arereportedly victims of human trafficking.
Due to the need for closer surveillance of the perpetrators of HumanTrafficking, especially via marriage bureaus or syndicates, since July 16,the CFO took over the conduct of Guidance & Counseling Services from twoprivate service providers. Doubts had been raised regarding the improperuse of the CFO sticker which is affixed to passports of spouses andpartners of foreign nationals upon presentation of the completion of thecounseling. The CFO has expanded its services and taken a direct hand toensure the legitimacy of the documents being presented.
The CFO emphasized that convergence initiatives of the Aquino governmenthave resulted in stronger IACAT coordination in the wake of the markedincrease in the number of Filipinas headed for abroad, especially forSouth Korea. The recent successes reported by the Bureau of Immigration incurbing the efforts of traffickers prove that this is an effective way tonip the problem at various points of the departure processing system.While the CFO recently forged an agreement with the Ministry of GenderEquality and Family (MOGEF) of South Korea to improve the delivery ofinformation and assistance here and abroad, this is still no guaranteethat our nationals will be well-protected.
Trafficking, in the guise of intermarriage, is a known practice which hasnow used advances in technology. The CFO case monitoring databank showthat offers of overseas employment via marriage is a source of income forlocal pimps, which unfortunately also including relatives, friends andother colluding parties.
The need for heavily penalizing and revealing the identity of theperpetrators of mail order bride schemes and other forms of humantrafficking cannot be overemphasized. The CFO also strongly urges policyreform via changes in the Anti-Mail Order Bride Law (RA 6955) and theAnti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003 (RA 9208), as initiatives of theIACAT will need the cooperation of all stakeholders.
Executive Director, CFO
August 6, 2012 9pm
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