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Asean group urged to devise plan to curb human trafficking




07:38 PM April 26th, 2013

By: Maila Ager, April 26th, 2013 07:38 PM

Leaders of the Association of South-East Asian Nations pose for a group photo section during the 22nd ASEAN Summit in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei, Thursday, April 25, 2013. They are, from left, Philippines President Benigno Aquino III, Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, Myanmar’s President Thein Sein, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Laotian Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong and Malaysia’s Senate President Abu Zahar Ujang. AP FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—An anti- human trafficking group is urging  the Asean Experts Working Group, which is now meeting here in the Philippines, to come up with a “regional comprehensive approach” to address this problem in Southeast Asia.

The Philippines plays host to the third Asean Experts Working Group against human trafficking.

While the government has been pushing for “stronger” measures and programs to solve the problem of human trafficking in the country, “there is still a need for a more comprehensive action plan to address this regional problem,”  said Ayeen Karunungan, spokesperson of the group Dakila, in a statement on Friday.

The group specifically cited the  two government offices that are working hand in hand to help solve the problem: the Department of Justice Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (DOJ-IACAT) under the leadership of Secretary Leila de Lima and Undersecretary Jose Vicente Salazar; and the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC) led by Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr.

“We hope that the Asean Experts Working Group meeting here in the Philippines will come up with a more integrated, cohesive and structured mechanisms to report and monitor human trafficking in Southeast Asia,” the group added.

Dakila launched its “Stop Look Listen Campaign” with the support of the embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the DOJ-IACAT,  the PAOCC, cycling groups like Manila Fixed Gear, Bikers 101, NOBA and iFOLD, and several NGOs to help curb human trafficking in the country.

The Freedom Rides being held across the country gathers cyclists and advocates as Freedom Warriors  (the participants ) promote the 1343 Action Hotline on human trafficking.

The campaign kicked off last March 9 in Metro Manila with 1,000 cyclists including Ambassador Ton Boon von Ochssee and Mrs. Martine Boon von Ochssee of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands; Josef Rychtar of the Czech Embassy, and Guy Ledoux of the European Union, participating in the Freedom Ride.

Another Freedom Ride held in Iloilo last April 20 mobilized 500 participants – the biggest and broadest bike tour ever in Panay island.

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