Human Trafficking

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By Nerissa Villanueva

Social Focus

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

LAST Sunday, me and my sister, Kikay, experienced human trafficking.

After visiting the Our Lady of Atonement Cathedral on that chilly afternoon, we decided to take a walk in the biggest shopping mall in the city. It usually just takes around 5-10 minute walk to reach the said destination. But that day was different. To our surprise, the streets were filled with people. And what turned that chilly afternoon into a scorching experience was the bulk of people choking the stairs towards the shopping mall. The supposedly relaxing stroll turned into a stressful hike because of the people jammed along the way. And what came into my mind was that we have been victims of human “trafficking” because we were jammed on our way to our destination just like the vehicles on the road.

But setting this stressful and irritating experience aside, human trafficking or trafficking in persons is a serious crime. Republic Act 9208 Series of 2013 also known as Anti-trafficking in Persons Act of 2003 and amended by RA10364 known as the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012 refers to trafficking in persons as the recruitment, obtaining, hiring, providing, offering, transportation, transfer, maintaining, harboring or receipt of persons with or without the victim’s consent or knowledge.

These acts may be done within or across national borders by means of threat, use of force or other forms of coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power or position, taking advantage of the vulnerability of the person, giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over the victim for the purpose of exploitation or prostitution or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery, servitude or the removal or sale of organs can be the basis of qualifying such as an act of trafficking in persons.

Women, children, and those who are part of the vulnerable sector become the typical victims of trafficking. It is sad to know that since 2009, there are around 47 alleged cases of trafficking in persons here in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR). And although the Department of Social Welfare and Development- Field Office maintains centers and institutions that cater to the needs of these victims, we should always be vigilant to safeguard ourselves from being trafficked.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on December 04, 2013.


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