THE Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is now raising awareness against human trafficking in evacuation centers located near conflict areas since evacuees are the usual target of illegal recruiters and traffickers.
Social Welfare Officer I Alma Acera, during the I-Speak media forum on Thursday, October 12, said an intensified campaign against trafficking is being pushed by the Interagency Council Against Trafficking (Iacat) in the areas affected by armed conflict like Marawi.
"We immediately respond to evacuation centers to raise awareness about different forms of abuses, including human trafficking and child pornography," Acera said.
"Tinuod nga once nga naay massive displacement, mga calamities mga conflict, isa ka lugar ang evacuation centers nga ganahan kaayo ang mga recruiters. Isa na siya ka vulnerable situation sa mga tao kay dali lang sila mahaylo gani sa mga recruiter mao na ma-traffic (It is true that once there are massive displacements due to calamities and conflicts in an area, the evacuation centers are a usual target of the recruiters since it is a vulnerable area. Evacuees are most vulnerable to be convinced and be trafficked)," she said.
Acera said they have recorded cases of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) from Davao Region areas previously hit by Typhoon Pablo in 2012 who were confirmed to be trafficked and are detained in different countries abroad.
She added that last month, DSWD, Task Force Davao and other agencies conducted awareness training to evacuees from Marawi who are temporarily seeking shelter in the city.
"Of course in Region 11, the Iacat is very active. We do not have any problem with (coordination) but for other regions, we coordinate with our regional offices in the DSWD, and of course programs being done here are also implemented in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Region 12 (Soccsksargen), Region 10 (Northern Mindanao), and all other regions all over the Philippines. It is expected that similar preventive activities are being done in their area," Acera said.
She added that they observe referral system in handling cases from those who are from other regions.