Silsilah Joins the Campaign against Human Trafficking | August 26, 2009

The Silsilah Peace and Development Services (SPDS) hosted on August 20, 2009, the 21st Kapihan sa Silsilah  at the Sunflower Food Center in Zamboanga City on the topic “Human Trafficking: A Global Phenomenon”. The Silsilah Peace and Development Services (SPDS) hosted on August 20, 2009, the 21st Kapihan sa Silsilah  at the Sunflower Food Center in Zamboanga City on the topic “Human Trafficking: A Global Phenomenon”Human trafficking is a world-wide phenomenon that “has reached epidemic proportions over the past decade, with a global annual market of about $42.5 billion.” As reported in Wikipedia “trafficking victims typically are recruited using coercion, deception, fraud, the abuse of power, or outright abduction.” The phenomenon is galvanized by the greed, on the one hand, of those who consider persons as commodities, and the vulnerability, on the other hand, of those who simply aspire for a better life and unwittingly become victims. Those most at risk are women and children. The most likely victims are those who are poor and not well educated who are easily taken in by the glib recruiters.         The issue of human trafficking is of great concern for the Philippines, about 10 million of whose citizens are migrant workers in countries all over the globe. The Philippine government has called these migrant workers “modern day heroes” for the billions of dollars they remit to the country and which prop up the economy. The accolade given to them, and the apparent  improvement of the economic situation of the families of the migrant workers, lead other aspiring Filipinos to sign up  for jobs abroad disregarding the obvious possibility, in many instances, that they are  actually being deceived by the so-called recruiters. To go work in a foreign land leaving behind one’s family and all that one is familiar with is bad  enough; to find oneself in this foreign land working almost like a slave or forced into prostitution must be a horrific experience to engagein the education campaign to prepare applicants for foreign job placements in coordination with the work of the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency.  to engagein the education campaign to prepare applicants for foreign job placements in coordination with the work of the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency.  The three featured speakers at the August 20 Kapihan came from the POEA, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Visayan Forum Foundation, Inc. From their practical experience in the performance of their duties in their respective agencies, the speakers gave practical tips on how to avoid being exploited and be more alert in reporting to the authorities unscrupulous individuals or groups who conduct this illegal activity.      The fight against human trafficking cannot be fought only by the appropriate government agency or by concerned NGOs or by the victims and their families. The fight must be undertaken by the whole community – the schools by educating even young students about the dangers they can face; community residents by reporting those engaged in the nefarious activity; the media by disseminating information about the laws that cover legitimate recruitment and the process of reporting if one has been victimized. This is a fight that we do not expect to end within a given period of time. So long as there are people motivated by greed, and people who are likely victims because of their poverty and their inadequate education, the fight against human trafficking will continue to be waged. People of goodwill must decide on which side they will be on.

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