DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Some 132 human trafficking cases were served by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in 2016 in Davao City and the region.
Pedrita Dimakiling, head of the community-based services unit of the regional DSWD said it was an increase compared to the human trafficking cases to the previous years and despite the intensified campaigns launched by various sectors and agencies of the government in the region.
Aside from the filing of charges against traffickers, Dimakiling said their agency was also involved in rendering services to the victims.
“We were able to serve not only to victims of child trafficking but also on victims of child pornography,” she added.
Poverty fuels trafficking
Jeanette Ampog, executive director of Talikala Foundation, the increase of human trafficking and child pornography cases in the city and the region was still due to poverty. She noted that most of the victims, especially women and children lived below the poverty line. Online recruitment, she added, has also become common and worsened the situation.
“Women and even children are being lured to come to other places through online recruitment. Pimps are also online to lure women and children to their customers,” Ampog said.
She also expressed concern over the increasing cases of women and children being recruited to work in bars and restaurants in Manila.
Ampog added that Talikala Foundation was able to record cases of cybersex and child pornography from 82 victims in the city and the region from January to March this year.
Gains in fight vs. trafficking
Authorities still present gains in the fight against human trafficking in the city and the region last year despite the increase in cases.
Atty. Barbara Mae Flores, regional deputy director of the Department of Justice in Davao region said 95 cases on human trafficking were filed in court as of 2016.
Of the 95 cases filed, 14 resulted to conviction; another 14 were dismissed; 4 were withdrawn; 12 were archived; 6 resulted to acquittal; and 45 are still active.
A total of 145 persons were victims to human trafficking last year – 130 were females and 15 males, Flores added.
Of the 130 female victims, 84 of them were minors while 46 were adults, while in male victims, 12 were minors and three were adults.
A total of 149 persons were charged last year on human trafficking, 73 were females and 76 were males.
Of the 73 accused females, 46 were detained in various jail facilities in the city and the region while 27 remained at large – and in the case of 76 accused males, 38 were detained while 38 were at large.
Foreigners were among those involved in 95 cases of human trafficking in the region last year, one New Zealander who is presently detained; three Koreans who are all at large; three Americans who are detained; and one British who is at large.
Flores added that most of those convicted last year were pimps who were penalized with 15 years to life imprisonment.
Dismissed and withdrawn cases were due to the lack of evidence while complainants and victims could no longer be located and fail to appear in courts, she said.
Archived cases involved accused who are still at large, she added.
Flores attributed the increase of human trafficking last year into the lack of values that most of the young people exhibited.
“In schools and in homes, we must inculcate into our children and the young generation their values as human beings,” she pointed out. (davaotoday.com)