CEBU remains a destination, source and transit area for human trafficking, where women and children victims are brought to be ?processed? before being sent to other provinces, said Ligaya Abedesco of the Visayan Forum Foundation.
She noted a change in the profile of trafficked persons due to the shortage of jobs.
?Many young professionals who cannot be absorbed into the work force are attracted to work outside Cebu. They are given an offer that is attractive and hard to refuse,? said Abedesco, one of the guests at the 888 News Forum held at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel yesterday.
The foundation helps marginalized migrants and tackles issues of domestic work, child labor and human trafficking.
A total of 175 cases of human trafficking were reported since 2007 based on government records .
Human trafficking is a crime against humanity because ?persons are viewed and sold like commodities or profit? said lawyer Andrey Sawchenko of the International Justice Mission.
He said people involved in the illegal trade choose Cebu due to the cheap transport costs.
?They choose those who are desperate to find any source of income. They (the targets) are promised an offer that is too good to be true. That is why they are easily caught in this net,? said Sawchenko.
Sawchecnko also cited an improvement in the implementation of Republic Act No. 9208 or the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003.
He noted 15 convictions on the national level of which three or four are in Metro Cebu.
?In 2007, there has been an upswing in prosecutions,? he said.
More than 60 persons were charged, including owners of establishments, recruiters and those connected in transporting the victims, he said.
During the same forum, Bobby Joseph of the National Independent Travel Agencies or NAITAS, said Cebu?s human trafficking scenario has little impact on the tourism industry.
?Human trafficking is usually outbound,? he said.