Mindanao judges, prosecutors vow help to curb human trafficking in the country PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 19 June 2011 15:19

Judges and prosecutors in Mindanao have vowed on Thursday to help in curbing and totally eliminating human trafficking in the country.
The commitment was made during the Seminar-Workshop on Combating Human Trafficking in the Philippines on June 15-16 at the Waterfront Hotel in the city.
Judge Virginia Hofileña-Europa of the Regional Trial Court Branch 11 in Davao City said that the 45 judges and prosecutors from regions 9, 10, 11 and 12 who attended the workshop assured they will “try our very best with the help of all pillars of the justice system.”

In an interview with the local media, Europa said they will enforce a requirement under Republic Act 9208 or the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003, to resolve all cases of trafficking of persons in 180 days.

Though she said that there are very few cases in Davao, human trafficking is a major concern in the country. In Mindanao, she cited Basilan, Zamboanga and Cagayan having the most cases of trafficking.

Meanwhile, US Ambassador to the Philippines Harry K. Thomas, Jr. also committed to assist the government in its programs on anti-human trafficking, saying “to give the boys and girls the chance that our children have.”

Thomas who was the keynote speaker that concluded the anti-human trafficking seminar-workshop on Thursday, urged the judges and prosecutors and every Filipino to help in addressing the problem which he said is a global challenge.

The Ambassador acknowledged the government efforts and lauded the vigilance against human trafficking down to the villages and barangay level, citing the achievement of convicting 25 human traffickers last year.

Thomas also lauded the program of the Department of Justice Secretary Leila M. De Lima, citing the rescue of 130 underage girls who were victims of human trafficking.
But he said this is not something to celebrate about, stressing that “we have made progress, but we have to go on” with the fight against human trafficking.
“This is your country. We are only here to help,” Thomas posed a challenge calling every Filipino to help in the crusade. “We can’t do it alone,” he said.

The Seminar-Workshop on Combating Human Trafficking was spearheaded by the Supreme Court and the Philippine Judicial Academy, in partnership with the US Department of Justice Criminal Division, United States Agency for International Development and the American Bar Association-Rule of Law Initiative.