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Thursday, July 18, 2019

Various agencies urged to unite vs trafficking

THE war against human traffickers requires mainstream efforts and partnership to combat what the Department of Justice labeled as a “highly-dynamic crime.”

“We have to pool our resources together to match their (human traffickers) business interests with counter-investments,” Assistant Justice Secretary Juvy Manwong told participants of the National Conference on Combating Trafficking in Person yesterday.

The two-day forum called “Mainstreaming our Efforts in Combating Human Trafficking: Restoring Human Trafficking,” was held at Montebello Villa Hotel in Cebu City.

Representatives from various stakeholders, including government prosecutors, non-government organizations, academe and local and foreign groups, attended the forum.

In the 2016 Global Slavery Index, the Philippines is ranked 19 out of 167 countries in the world, said Prosecutor Rey Incious.

Of the 103,796,838 Filipinos, some 413,112 people are being trafficked, said Incious.

In her speech, Manwong, the DOJ assistant secretary, outlined at least five mainstream strategies against human trafficking.

These are 1) evidence-driven practices; 2) replicating, sustaining, and scaling; 3) inter-operability of agencies; 4) strengthening of established mechanism; and 5) increasing of local investment.

In the first strategy, Manwong said government interventions should be driven by relevant knowledge and evidence.

“Our resources must be put where there is a need and where there is great potential for impact,” said Manwong.

She said programs and strategies that work against human trafficking must also be shared, replicated, and sustained.

Manwong said initiatives by government agencies should also be streamlined in order to overcome challenges of territoriality, resource-constraints, and inefficient protocols.

The Regional Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking, Violence against Women and Children is the best mechanism and thus, should be strengthened, said Manwong.

The DOJ official also said the government should ensure that such mechanisms should be sustained, inspiring local government units in combating trafficking.

“This is what mainstreaming will struggle to address. We have to put our minds together-- real-on-the-ground-knowledge-holders with high-level-policy-experts and with practitioner-level-strategists,” said Manwong. (GMD)
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