From the Sun Star:
By Annabelle L. Ricalde
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
CASES of human trafficking this year are high in Bukidnon province and Cagayan de Oro compared to other places in Northern Mindanao, said the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) Task Force Against Human Trafficking.
As of June 2008, 38 percent of human trafficking victims came from Bukidnon and 35 percent from Cagayan de Oro, CFO data show. Another 20 percent of the victims live in Gingoog City, 16 percent in Ozamis City, and 11 percent Misamis Oriental.
The figures only account for the cases handled by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)-Northern Mindanao, so the actual number of 138 victims could be higher, said lawyer Golda Myra Roma of the CFO.
Roma said that of the total number of victims, 117 are minors and almost all of them are females.
She said women are more preferred by human traffickers because of "the availability of the labor force for women."
The "jobs" offered for women often include forced prostitution, while others land into forced labor, slavery, servitude, or the removal of organs, she added.
Senator Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada meantime said the number of unemployed workers falling prey to human trafficking syndicates has risen in the last two years.
Estrada, concurrent chairman of the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development, said that international syndicates have been preying on desperate workers who are trying to get employment abroad.
Meanwhile, Roma named Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Brunei and Japan as the top haven of trafficked persons from the Philippines. She said these countries do not have comprehensive laws against human trafficking, unlike the Philippines.
She said that cases of human trafficking in the country have been going down since 2006, although the number remains alarming.
She said that the victims often would lose interest in pursuing the case because of the delayed and long process of the prosecution.
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