ARMM exec: Increase in human trafficking cases due to displacement
COTABATO CITY – Armed conflicts and natural calamities, which trigger massive displacements in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), make the five-province region a lucrative ground for human traffickers, an official said Tuesday.
Laisa Alamia, ARMM executive secretary, told the visiting eight-man delegation from the International Organization for Migration (IOM), that the main factor behind the increase in cases of human trafficking in the region was the displacement of people from their communities – which worsens their economic status.
The IOM delegation and representatives from the Independent State of Papua New Guinea visited ARMM to learn various mechanisms aimed at curbing problems related to Trafficking in Persons (TIP).
Papua New Guinea is also being assisted by the IOM in setting-up counter-trafficking mechanisms.
The foreign delegation also attended the 2nd regular meeting of the ARMM Council Against Trafficking (ACAT) held at the Badjau Hall of the Office of the Regional Governor.
“Traffickers become creative nowadays as they lure parents on promises of jobs and easy money for their children allowing them to grab spurious opportunities,” Alamia said.
Alamia cited data from the ACAT, which she also chairs, that in 2014, there were 387 victim-survivors of trafficking in persons in the region.
She said Bongao in the province of Tawi-Tawi had been identified as the transit point of TIP and where potential victims were often intercepted.
Alamia said because of the challenge posed by TIP, the ARMM government has crafted and implemented several measures to curb the activity.
These included the establishment of a One-Stop Processing Center in Bongao and Taganak islands in Tawi-Tawi; recovery and reintegration program for trafficked victim-survivors, hiring of social workers for family tracing and reunification; conduct of assistance by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration; and, strengthening of municipal committees on Anti-Trafficking and Violence Against Women and Children in at least seven municipalities in the region. Edwin Fernandez
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.