IACAT: 118 human traffickers convicted as of June 2013
At least 118 people have been convicted of human trafficking as of June 2013, but the government admitted it has a long way to go before it can make major progress against human traffickers before the courts.
The Inter-agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) Secretariat said the 118 is a small part of some 1,519 cases lodged before the courts.
"This should serve as a stern warning to those who are involved in human trafficking," said Atty. Neil Simon Silva of IACAT during a forum organized by the Department of Social Welfare and Development, which co-chairs IACAT.
Silva added most of those convicted were slapped the maximum penalty of life imprisonment and fines ranging from P1 million to P8 million.
Most of those in the list of convicted human traffickers were involved in sex and cyber-sex trade preying on the poor by force, fraud or through a promise of big money.
In 2012, Republic Act 10364 or the Expanded Anti-trafficking in Persons Act was enacted for a stronger anti-human trafficking measure, amending Republic Act 9208 or the “Anti-Human Trafficking in Persons Act.”
The DSWD also presented at a recent forum its major intervention for victims of human trafficking and their families.
Dubbed Recovery and Reintegration Program for Trafficked Persons (RRPTP), it provides victims with adequate recovery and reintegration services, psycho-social counseling, temporary shelter and other support services.
From January to March 2013, it served 651 victims of trafficking. Of the 651, 560 were referred to residential care facilities for temporary shelter assistance in the DSWD managed centers Haven for Women/Girls and Marillac Hills and in facilities managed by local government units.
The remaining 91 cases were reintegrated into their respective families and communities.
Also, the DSWD said it intensified its information campaign against trafficking through the “Iligtas Mo Ako” cinema plug.
The plug features two modes of trafficking - sexual and labor trafficking.
It also asks audiences to help stop human trafficking by reporting cases that they know of to the hotline numbers (02) 9319141 or the IACAT Action Line 1343. — ELR, GMA News