Pacquiao to Palace: Step up fight vs child trafficking

Posted at 01/13/14 6:22 PM

MANILA - Sarangani congressman and boxing champ Manny Pacquiao is urging the government to be on alert against reported cases of child trafficking in Samar, an area that was devastated by super typhoon Yolanda.

A UK-based children’s charity, Plan International, earlier asked the Philippines to investigate the suspected recruitment of child workers for sex trafficking on the central island of Samar.

Pacquiao said the government must do everything within its power to prevent such crimes from happening. He said

He added that the government must fast-track its rehabilitation efforts so as to prevent the survivors of the super typhoon to end up being exploited by illegal recruiters.

Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma earlier said a special anti-trafficking commission is already in place to prevent children displaced by the typhoon from being exploited by traffickers.

"That is why the concerned agencies are doing everything in their power to prevent these crimes," he told reporters.

Aid groups have warned that many of those displaced face extreme hardship in their ruined communities and are vulnerable to human traffickers.

"We have been giving attention to this issue because we do not want children and women to be victimised by these criminals, especially those who came from the calamity area," said Coloma.

United Nations agencies, foreign governments, as well as aid groups including Plan International are helping millions of survivors who lost relatives, homes, jobs, or all three.

The Philippine government has listed 109 children orphaned by Haiyan on the storm-ravaged central island of Leyte alone.

A 2013 US State Department report on global human trafficking described the Philippines as "a source country, and to a much lesser extent, a destination and transit country for men, women and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor".