Human Trafficking: Modern Day Slavery

 Human Trafficking: Modern Day Slavery
Back in highschool, I remember reading the book called the Color Purple.  The novel is about a poor and uneducated 14-year old girl who suffers rape, beatings, maltreatment and all forms of abuse, and endures through all the hardships until she is reunited with family and loved ones at the end of the story.  I realize that these stories are based on true events, and sadly these stories still occur until this day.

What is Human Trafficking?

Human trafficking is modern-day slavery and involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act.  People on the ground like community organizer Elaine says human trafficking is a lucrative business, and that women and children are made vulnerable by poverty and gender discrimination.  In some areas in Cebu, it has become so bad that it was once considered a cottage industry.  Children are robbed of their youth, and end up as broken, empty shells.  People on the ground report children being pimped by their own parents for sex.  Others collect payment for sexual acts performed in front of a webcam.

Trafficking in Persons” is legally defined in the Republic Act 9208 (Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003) as:

the recruitment, transportation, transfer or harboring, or receipt of persons with or without the victim’s consent or knowledge, within or across national borders by means of threat or use of force, or other forms of coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power or of position, taking advantage of the vulnerability of the person, or, the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person for the purpose of exploitation which includes at a minimum, the exploitation or the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery, servitude or the removal or sale of organs.

Hence, the main elements of human trafficking would include movement, means and motivation.

Where is Human Trafficking?

The Global Slavery Index estimates that in 2016 there are 45.8 million peopleare in some form of modern slavery in 167 countries.

CNN US Trafficking in Persons Report discusses that on the same day that the new President Rodrigo Duterte assumed power, the Philippines moved up to become a Tier 1 nation. During his State of the Nation Address, President Rodrigo Duterte declared war against human trafficking.
  • Tier 1 means that governments fully comply with the Trafficking Victims Protection Act’s (TVPA) minimum standards.
  • Tier 2 means that governments do not fully comply, but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance.
  • Tier 3 means that governments do not fully complyand are not making significant efforts to do so. Myanmar, Sudan and Haiti are currently among the worst offenders for human trafficking.

In Cebu Philippines, the Inter-agency Council against Trafficking (IACAT-7-ACP-VAWC) celebrates World Day against Traffiking in Persons (WDAT) with a multi-sectoral conference at the Mandaue City Sports Complex with all government agencies, non-government organizations and even private sectors involved in efforts towards stopping human trafficking.  Different groups employ different approaches to address the problem. The police (PNP) and the fiscals (DOJ) work with the social workers (DSWD) in rescue operations to extract victims from bondage, arrest suspected perpetuators and bring the case to court.  There are groups that specialize in protection of victims and prosecution of perpetuators.  There are also groups who work in prevention through awareness campaigns and capacity building of dutybearers and community-based child protection networks and concerned community members down to the level of the barangays.  There are also those who work in the transportation and tourism areas to empower service providers to suspect and detect cases of human trafficking, to report and refer to the proper authorities.  As we rejoice that the Philippines as been upgraded to TIP Tier 1, we all continue in this work to protect the rights of our children and to end this modern-day slavery.

Join us for the #HealthXPH tweetchat on Saturday (July 30, 2016) from 9:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. as we discuss human trafficking, in celebration of the World Day against Trafficking in Persons.

T1.  What are the forms of modern day slavery?

T2.  Suggest ways of combatting human trafficking.

T3. How does human trafficking affect society?