Civil society groups to hold anti-human trafficking summits

Posted at 08/20/14 5:57 PM

MANILA - Anti-human trafficking advocates will launch three summits this year that will strengthen cooperation among civil society organizations in preventing labor, women and child trafficking.

The Blas F. Ople Policy Center (BFOC), International Justice Mission (IJM) and the Visayan Forum Foundation, Inc. (VFFI) are partnering with the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Inter-Agency Council Against Human Trafficking for the summits.

"Human trafficking inflicts severe and often long-lasting harm on the most vulnerable people of our societies, frequently undetected and concealed to mainstream society," said Chargé d’Affaires Joop Scheffers of the Netherlands Embassy.

Scheffers added "that partnership and cooperation should constitute an integral part of anti-trafficking policies and their implementation, both on a national and international level, to make information more accessible and services to victims and potential victims readily-available”.

The first of the three summits will be held on August 28-29 at Traders' Hotel in Pasay City. It will focus on how technology can help prevent and detect human trafficking, particularly among overseas Filipino workers who often fall victims of trafficking in persons and illegal recruitment.

An expert from the Dutch government, Arjan Verhagen, who serves as Thematic Liaison Officer of the Dutch National Police, will share his country’s experience in dealing with online child exploitation, while technology firms have been invited to showcase their products and services so that anti-trafficking advocates can see how these can be used to advance their cause.

IACAT member-agencies, such as the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, the National Bureau of Investigation and the Philippine National Police, will discuss their respective online-based campaigns against illegal recruitment and human trafficking. IACAT itself through the Commission on Filipinos Overseas will brief the OFW sector on its national hotline: 1343.

Technology firms, such as Viber, Microsoft, Orange Apps, and social advocacy movement, Change.Org, among others, have been invited to participate in the technology and anti-trafficking summit.
The two other summits will be hosted by IJM and VFFI on October and November 2014 in Iloilo and Davao, respectively. IJM focuses on child trafficking while VFFI represents the women’s sector in IACAT.

In each summit, renowned experts in the field have been invited to shed light on the situation of human trafficking in the Philippines to keep advocates abreast on emerging trends and challenges.