In the early morning hours of Friday the 15th of June representatives from CSOs, faith based organizations, volunteers, the business sector, government agencies, law enforcers, politicians, and victims themselves all came together to demonstrate for and raise awareness around the imperative work that is being done in the Philippines against human trafficking and exploitation.
The Walk, organized by Visayan Forum Foundation , Inter-Agency –Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) and Walk Free, was intended to demonstrate public demand for immediate political action on pending legislations and proposals that will help those who are already trapped in or vulnerable to bondage and modern-day-slavery. Whilst much has been done in the Philippines in the fight against trafficking, child labour and sex tourism, a major issue still to be tackled is the continued abuse of millions of domestic workers worldwide.
Each year more than 100,000 Filipino children are being trafficked, a number that should be unacceptable in this day and age. Human trafficking exist in every sector, be it in sex dens, sweatshops, factories, farms or households. Millions of women and children are being forced to work, experience constant abuses and are sold and resold like commercial goods. Human trafficking is a global problem, and like Head of Department of Social Welfare and Development Ms Soliman stated, it takes two to traffick, one to sell and one to exploit, and the problem needs to be tackled on both local and international levels. The gloomy fact that the number of people trafficked worldwide now have risen above the number of illegally traded weapons should be wakeup call enough for the brutalities that millions of people are currently experiencing and help spur the strong sense of commitment that is needed in the fight against trafficking.
First and foremost, the campaign sought to mobilize awareness and action around trafficking. A main goal was encouraging a change in attitude through
- REPORTING INCIDENCES OF TRAFFICKING THROUGH HOTLINE 1343,
- motivating business to help ensure that recruitment and hiring practices do not lead to bondage and trafficking,
- making people want to donate or volunteer in projects that address the root causes of the problem.
Our own embassy staff was also there to show their support and join in on the vital fight against human trafficking.