June 22, 2024

An international non-government organization has informed Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong on the prevalence of human trafficking in Baguio mostly victimizing students in dire financial needs.

The mayor said the group used to work with him when he was with the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group and conducted two-day ground interviews in the city recently. 

“The interviews revealed a high prevalence of trafficking in persons in the city, most of them students and the youth,” the mayor said. 

Alarmed by the report, the mayor tasked the inspectorate team of the Baguio City Police Office with the City Permits and Licensing Division to monitor entertainment establishments including workers without the necessary permits in the city and submit a monthly report.

Prosecutor Ruth Bernabe of the City Prosecutor’s Office said four cases of Trafficking in Persons were filed by the National Bureau of Investigation last year; two of which are now on plea bargain while two are still ongoing cases in court.

Bernabe is thankful to the city government for the institutionalization of the Quick Response Team against human trafficking and hopes that more human traffickers will be caught in the coming days.

“Trafficking in persons is prevalent in the city but not being reported,” Bernabe said.

She added that perpetrators are also becoming innovative in their ways to lure victims but said that so far, Baguio has no record of online sexual exploitation cases and no report on child pornography cases.

Republic Act 9208, or the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003, instituted policies to eliminate trafficking in persons especially women and children against exploitation and prostitution. – Jessa Mardy Samidan