July 16, 2024

In its continuing efforts to protect Filipinos from sexual abuse, exploitation, and trafficking, a senior official of the Department of Social Welfare and Development reported the agency has provided various interventions to 2,024 victim-survivors of Trafficking in Person (TIP) in 2023.

Of this figure, 320 were minors rescued from Online Sexual Abuse or Exploitation of Children (OSAEC), Anti-Child Sexual Abuse or Exploitation Materials (CSAEM), and trafficking.

“We at the DSWD reaffirm our commitment to protect the welfare of these vulnerable children. We recognize the urgency of President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.’s directive to implement a comprehensive and intensive action plan to combat OSAEC and CSAEM,” DSWD Asec. for Disaster Response Management Group (DRMG) Irene Dumlao said in a news release.

In a recent sectoral meeting, President Marcos said the country “is not a safe haven for people who abused and exploited children. This is the absolute worst place for you, and we will make sure you know it.”

Out of the 2,024 clients served in the different DSWD Field Offices, 824 or 40.7 percent TIP victim-survivors were male and 1,197 or 59.14 percent were female.

In cases involving children, 16 belong to zero to six-year age group, 101 are 7 to 12 years old, and 203 are 13 to 17 years old.

Through the DSWD’s Recovery and Reintegration Program of Trafficked Persons, the agency provides a comprehensive program that ensures adequate recovery and reintegration services to victim-survivors of trafficking, OSAEC, and CSAEM.

The victim-survivors were provided with a wide array of services including logistical support during and post-rescue operations; temporary shelter; support services such as transportation, medical and educational assistance; and economic reintegration services which include skills training, and financial assistance for employment and livelihood.

“These services were also provided to the families of victim-survivors,” Dumlao, who is also the DSWD spokesperson, said.

She said the DSWD is conducting a series of workshops and capacity building for its field offices’ personnel to ensure effective and efficient implementation of the program and its responsiveness to the needs of the victim-survivors of trafficking.

The DSWD, she added, also continues to enhance its existing policies and conduct advocacy activities to prevent people from becoming victims of human trafficking.

“As the Co-Chair of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking, and a member of the National Coordination Center Against OSAEC and CSAEM, the DSWD commits to intensify our efforts for the prevention, advocacy, protection, recovery, rehabilitation, and reintegration of trafficked persons,” Dumlao said. – Press release