Human trafficking victims in WV get help

At least 47 victims of human trafficking in the region were provided with financial assistance totalling to P423,500 in the year 2013 by the Department of Social Welfare and Development Regional Office 6 (DSWD 6).

The assistance provided was part of the Recovery and Reintegration Program of the agency to help those who were victimized by human trafficking for them to be able to bring back their lives to normal and avoid falling victims to the crime again.
Of the total amount of assistance released, P380,000 was for livelihood assistance; P21,000 was for support for victims/witnesses; P15,000 was for shelter and transportation assistance and P7,500 for skills training of the victims.

Records of the DSWD 6 show that 26 of the human trafficking cases were forced labor, 13 were sexual exploitation, six were cyber pornography and two were cases of prostitution. It also reveal that most of the victims of sexual exploitation were girls 18 years old and below while majority of forced labor victims were women of legal age. Most of them were provided with livelihood assistance in the amount of P10,000 each and those who want to continue their schooling were sent back to school and were assisted in availing of the SCALA project (Sharing Computer Access Locally and Abroad).

Of the 47 human trafficking victims, 24 came from Iloilo province, nine were from Negros Occidental, seven from Iloilo City, two each from Bacolod City and province of Palawan and one each from Roxas City, Zamboanga del Norte and Antipolo City.

Some of the victims, especially women, were temporarily sheltered at the Regional Center for Women while the minor girls were housed at the Home for Girls. Both facilities are being operated by the DSWD. Others, especially those who came from other provinces outside region VI were provided with transportation assistance for them to return home.

Those who have filed cases against those who recruited them were also provided with cash assistance for them to pursue their legal suits.

NeliaSurmilla, DSWD 6 focal person on the campaign against human trafficking said the assistance being provided to the victims will prevent them from falling victim to the same crime again.

Advocates for the prevention of human trafficking said one of the solutions to the problem is the intensified information and education campaign.

Last year, the DSWD, in coordination with the Association of Government Information Officers conducted a series of fora on the campaign against human trafficking in areas in Iloilo where there are reported cases of human trafficking.

Women and young girls especially, are enticed by recruiters because of promise of employment in the city or abroad. Poverty is considered to be the number reason why many people want to go to other places to work./dswd6/WennaBerondo-Bendol/Photo source: The Freedom Project

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