Saturday, May 03, 2008

Trafficking of Filipinas to Singapore on the Rise

By Veronica Uy

From the Inquirer:

The Philippine embassy said the trafficking of Filipinas in Singapore "continues unabated." The embassy’s admission came six month after first reported the sharp increase in the incident of the transnational crime in the island-state.

In the report it submitted to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) dated April 28, the Philippine embassy in Singapore reiterated its warning about the dangers of human trafficking.

The warning came in the wake of meetings between the Philippine embassy, Ambassador Steven Steiner of the United States Department of State's Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, and officials from the Philippine Presidential Task Force on Human Trafficking, who went to Singapore to assess the situation there.

In November 2007, posted a special report on the growing number of young Filipino women being lured to Singapore on the false promise of a high-paying job only to end up in prostitution.

The increased incidence of trafficking of Asian women, including Filipinas, to Singapore prompted the United States State Department to downgrade the city-state's rating from Tier 1 in 2006 to Tier 2 this year.

Philippine Ambassador to Singapore Belen Fule-Anota said Filipinas who want to work overseas must scrutinize their recruiters in the Philippines well and ensure they have valid contracts before leaving the country.

In a report submitted to the DFA early this year, the embassy in Singapore noted "an alarming increase" of 70 percent in human trafficking cases from 125 in 2006 to 212 in 2007. There were only 59 recorded cases in 2005.

Of the 212 human trafficking victims in 2007, a total of 57, or 27 percent, admitted to either having engaged in prostitution or being coerced by their Filipino and Singaporean handlers to prostitute themselves. Of the 57 victims, 39 were pub workers, 15 worked in escort service, while three were pick-up girls.

The embassy culled data from individual interviews, recorded statements, and affidavits of victims who reported to the embassy in 2007. The number is believed understated.

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