Mandaue City lauded for its campaign

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Saturday, December 7, 2013

INTERNATIONAL Justice Mission (IJM) country director Andrey Sawchenko lauded the Mandaue City Government yesterday for its campaign against human trafficking.

During a program celebrating the International Day Against Human Trafficking, Mayor Jonas Cortes, in a message read by Councilor Nenita Ceniza-Layese, also called for vigilance in northern Cebu and other typhoon-ravaged areas, saying human traffickers may take advantage of the survivors’ plight.

“There is a need for vigilance because typhoon victims, especially women and children, are easy targets,” he said.

Sawchenko, for his part, revealed that an operator of a club in Mandaue was recently convicted of human trafficking. The conviction stemmed from the rescue of a trafficked girl from Bohol.

Mandaue City’s observance of the International Day Against Human Trafficking started with a caravan at 6:30 a.m. A short program at the City Hall grounds followed the caravan that was participated by anti-trafficking councils of 23 barangays.

The International Day Against Human Trafficking is observed worldwide every Dec. 12, but Councilor Nenita Ceniza-Layese said they decided to commemorate it on a Saturday so more sectors could participate. Dec. 12 falls on a Thursday.

Sawchenko commended the local government for helping the barangays pass their own anti-trafficking ordinance and create their own anti-trafficking councils.

Ceniza-Layese, vice chair of the Mandaue City Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking, said only three out of the 27 barangays have yet to pass an anti-trafficking ordinance but are already in the process of passing one.

One of the features of the ordinance is the creation of an anti-trafficking council.

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“Before, the barangays only depend on the City’s ordinance against trafficking. But now, they see the need to create their own ordinance,” Ceniza-Layese said.

The City passed its anti-trafficking ordinance in 2009 and a revised version in 2010.

Ceniza-Layese said anti-trafficking councils in seven barangays, where cases of human trafficking have been reported, will undergo a seminar in February next year.

These are Umapad, Paknaan, Mantuyong, Guizo, Subangdaku, Tipolo and Opao. “The seminar will help strengthen the implementation of their ordinance,” she said.

In partnership with IJM, an international organization that fights human trafficking, the City established the Mandaue Reintegration Support Network (RSN) for Sex Trafficking Survivors last year.

The program aims to promote health, well-being and leadership among the victims through a supportive community and a network of professional volunteers, using a holistic range of resources.

In 2007, IJM launched Project Lantern, which aims to rescue women and girls from sex trafficking in Metro Cebu and develop the capacity of the public justice system to fight trafficking in persons.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 08, 2013.

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