IACAT renews drive vs anti-human trafficking PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 27 June 2016 11:52

By SHEILA COVARRUBIAS

Intended to muster the necessary support of local government units (LGUs) and other stakeholders on the campaign against trafficking in persons (TIP), the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) has launched a series of information dissemination and campaign on the existence of the law and other issues and concerns related to the crime.

Zamboanga City was the first stop of the nationwide campaign initiated by IACAT Executive Director Atty. Darlene Pajarito Friday, June 24, being her home city that earned the distinction of being the first city to obtain a conviction on the anti-trafficking law.

With the recent election the IACAT deemed it proper to orient government officials and renew commitments in fighting human trafficking, said Pajarito, who was honored by the US State Department as TIP Report Hero Acting to End Modern Slavery in recognition of incredible efforts on anti-trafficking in 2011.

Zamboanga City holds the distinction of being the first city in the entire country to ever convict a human trafficker in 2005 and to obtain 6 convictions in a short span of time from 2005-2001 with all cases prosecuted by Pajarito. The city was also lauded for having its own ant-trafficking ordinance

In her presentation on Philippine government efforts against human trafficking, Pajarito challenged all newly-elected and re-elected City Government officials including city department heads and other stakeholders to re-intensify the campaign as she offered IACAT’s support and assistance.

She stressed that awareness campaigns relevant to Republic Act 9208 or the Anti-trafficking in Persons Act of 2003 should be strengthened to reach out to the barangay and    grassroots level.

Nationwide, there are a total of 238 convictions with 263 traffickers convicted from 2005 to middle of June 2016. Of the total convictions, 95% are related to sex trafficking and 7% labor trafficking. In terms of age demography, 93% of the victims are female and 54% are minors.

For his part, City Caretaker and OIC Mayor Cesar Iturralde called on his fellow city officials to join and commitment to the war against human trafficking stressing the need to rid the city of human traffickers before more and more people fall prey to them. “We must sustain the fight against these predators who take advantage of the weak, preying on the latter’s desire to give a better life for their family.”

Among those present during the orientation held at the City Hall conference room were District II Congressman-elect Manuel Dalipe Jr., elected councilors Elbert Atilano and Cesar Jimenez Sr., re-elected Councilor Kim Elago, IP Representative Coun. Ismael Musa, Asst. Regional Prosecutor Ivy Damayo-Elvina and several city prosectors, city department heads, representative from the local police and other stakeholders, members of the City Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Trafficking and numerous others. — Sheila Covarrubias