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Victims of human trafficking in PH spike to over 700,000 – Global Slavery Index

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Thursday, December 6th, 2018

(file photo)

MANILA, Philippines – The 2018 Global Slavery Index report shows a significant rise in the number of victims of human trafficking in the Philippines.

Most notable was the incident of 13 minors, including a two-month-old baby, who were trafficked by their own relatives and were rescued in March last year by operatives of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) with the help of personnel from the U.S. Homeland Security Investigators and Immigration and the Customs Enforcement team.

Specifically, the minors were used to promote child pornography.

“Masakit, kasi ang mga perpetrators ay mga magulang at mga relatives. So, sino pa ang pagkakatiwalaan ng mga kabataan natin ngayon kung even ang magulang nila ay kinakalakal sila?” said Atty Janet Francisco, chief of the NBI Anti-Human Trafficking Division.

Their case is just one of the more than 700,000 victims of human trafficking based on the report.

This puts the Philippines in the 12th rank among countries with the highest incidence of modern-day slavery in the entire Asia Pacific.

The report notes that among the 44 million people trafficked across the globe, 73% were victims of forced sexual exploitation; 68% were victims of forced labor; 64% were victims of labor exploitation; while 42% were led to forced marriages.

“It is no wonder that slavery has broken the very fabric of nations…It has destroyed families and communities and brought war to the mightiest of economies. The inherent injustice in building fortunes from the misfortune of some, presents one of the strongest compulsions for the abolition of slavery,” explained Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra.

Meanwhile, the Department of Justice (DOJ) takes pride in the rescue of a 9-year-old girl and the arrest of her French pedophile perpetrator who spread lewd photographs online.

“This information was transmitted to the Philippines and Australia and was subsequently corroborated with the Philippine women and children protection center,” narrated Secretary Guevarra.

Four months after the trial and 9 months after rescue of the child, a conviction for qualified trafficking was handed down by our courts” he added referring to the success of the case.

Guevarra, meanwhile, calls on the international community to unite to protect the poor who are the most susceptible to human trafficking. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Mai Bermudez)

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PH Bureau of Immigration ramps up drive vs human trafficking

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Wednesday, March 20th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration has ramped up its efforts to combat the trafficking of Filipinos, especially of minors, to other countries.

Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said in a statement on Monday (March 18) they have directed immigration officers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and other international ports in the country to “carefully screen departing Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW)” amid reports that human trafficking syndicates are again recruiting under-aged Filipino women.

Immigration personnel manning booths at the airport were also ordered to strictly screen departing OFWs “to make sure that they are of legal age and are eligible for overseas deployment.”

BI personnel should particularly watch out for passengers who appear to minors or below 23 years old, which is the age requirement for overseas household service workers, Morente said.

The latest measure was enforced after BI officers intercepted a 21-year old Filipina household worker bound for Saudi Arabia last March 13 at the NAIA Terminal 1 before she could board her flight to Riyadh.

The woman has already been turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) for further investigation and assistance.

Last year, the BI reported that more than a hundred under aged Filipino women, many of them minors, were intercepted at NAIA. All of them had passports with falsified birthdates, although they had valid overseas employment permits, working visas and job contracts.

“This syndicate has stopped deploying under aged women, following last year’s numerous interceptions, as well as arrests by local authorities. However, with this recent interception, it seems that this scheme is making a comeback,” Morente said.

“I implore our kababayans who wish to work abroad, do not fall to these syndicates,” he urged. – Robie de Guzman

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Law catches up with woman who pimps kids for cybersex

by admin   |   Posted on Sunday, February 10th, 2019

A woman who eluded authorities for years was finally arrested Saturday night (February 9) for trafficking of children.

Ma. Lorena Regalona alias “Rhea” is accused of engaging in online sex shows which feature children from their neighborhood doing sexual acts that are viewed online by foreign clients.

The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group Major Crimes Investigation Unit (CIDG-MCIU) at Camp Crame was tipped off by an informant last week about the whereabouts of the suspect who had been in hiding for years.

After validating the information and securing an arrest warrant, CIDG detectives arrested Regalona on Saturday at 6:00 p.m. in Barangay Wawa, Taguig City.

The warrant of arrest was issued by Assisting Presiding Judge Byron G. San Pedro of the Taguig Regional Trial Court Branch 69 for qualified trafficking in persons with recommended bail of P200,000 and three counts of violation of Section 12 of Republic Act 7610 or the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act with no bail recommended. — UNTV News and Rescue

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Two minors rescued from human trafficking activity in Quezon City

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Friday, January 11th, 2019

The two female minors who were saved by authorities from being smuggled to Pangasinan to work in a local bar.
The two female minors who were saved by authorities from being smuggled to Pangasinan to work in a local bar.

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – Two minors were rescued by members of the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) in a botched human trafficking activity in Barangay Batasan Hills on Thursday (January 10).

The suspect has been identified as Manuel Joshua Sanchez, 21, a native of Samar.

He is now facing violations of R.A. 0208 or the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act.

According to reports, one of the minors’ mother reported to the Batasan Police Station about Sanchez’ plan to bring her daughter to Pangasinan to work in a local bar.

Kasi yung anak ko naki-open sa cellphone tapos nakalimutan niyang i-log out kaya nasundan ko yung conversation hanggang sabi noong bakla, dadalhin sila sa Nueva Vizcaya. Ngayon lang iyong sa Pangasinan kasi iyong nakaraan, hindi natuloy,” said ‘Jo’, the victim’s mother.

(TRANSLATION: My daughter borrowed my cellphone but forgot to log out her [social media account] that’s why I was able to follow their conversation up to the point where the suspect said he was bringing them to Nueva Vizcaya. He recently changed it to Pangasinan as the first plan did not push through.)

According to QCPD Station 6 Deputy Commander Sandie Caparroso, the suspect has an outstanding record when the same complainant reported him in November for pimping her daughter to the suspect’s own father.

Sinabihan natin sila na maaktuhan natin ang ginagawa nilang pangbubugaw nung suspect. Kanina nga ay lumapit ulit sa atin. Ang information sa atin ay nakipag-communicate itong suspect sa biktima through FB messenger at inaalok sila ulit ng trabaho somewhere in Pangasinan,” Caparraso said.

(TRANSLATION: The plan is to catch the suspect in the act of pimping the victims. We received information earlier that suspect reached out to the suspects through FB messenger offering employmeny somewhere in Pangasinan.)

Sanchez was arrested while about to board a taxi together with the two minors allegedly on their way to Pangasinan.

The suspect denied the allegations saying he was just ordered by a certain ‘Liezl’ to fetch the minors and bring them to Pangasinan for potential employment.

Nagulat na lang po noong susunduin po namin sila may bigla na lang po mga pulis. Hindi po ako ang nagrecruit nun. Si Liezel kaibigan po nila pinasundo lang po sa akin,” Sanchez argued.

(TRANSLATION: When we came to pick up the girls, I was surprised to see the police. I was not the one who recruited them. I was asked by Liezel, a friend of the girls, to fetch them.)

Auhtorities added that the suspect was using illegal drugs based on the recent drug test conducted.

The two minors were sent to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for counselling. — Marje Pelayo (with reports from Gerry Galicia)

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