Taguig joins global campaign vs. human trafficking, exploitation

The City government of Taguig has joined the international campaign to fight human trafficking and exploitation, earning the distinction as the only local government in the country to adopt a comprehensive program against this global crime phenomenon.

 In a show of commitment to the call of the United Nations, the Taguig City recently unveiled a modern facility known as the Reintegration Support Network (RSN) that will cater to the needs of people who fall victims of human trafficking and exploitation.

 Taguig City officials said the inauguration of the RSN facility also serves as a backdrop in the first ever Anti Human Trafficking Congress in the country, with a theme: “Break Free: End Modern-Day Slavery.”

 Taguig City Mayor Lani Cayetano spearheaded the inauguration of the RSN at the Barangay Western Bicutan attended by representative of the city’s Gender and Development Focal Point System (GDFPS) and the US-based human rights organization International Justice Mission (IJM).

 “Our partnership with the International Justice Mission is a significant step toward our goal in fighting human trafficking and exploitation in the City of Taguig,” Mayor Lani said.

 “It makes us happy to know that now, not only we are in a position to help save them from this unacceptable situation but also help them reintegrate to their communities with confidence and high hopes for their future,” she added.

 The city government showed its dedication to fight human trafficking and exploitation following the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement with the IJM on June 30, 2014, which initiated the training of personnel tasked to supervise the various support groups created to handle human trafficking cases and help victims of exploitation.

 The IJM works to combat human trafficking including the commercial sexual exploitation of children, forced labor, slavery, illegal detention, police brutality and illegal land seizure. Based on referrals of abuse received from relief and development organizations, IJM conducts professional investigations of the abuses and mobilizes intervention on behalf of the victims.

 Mayor Lani said part of the program is to provide a wide variety of services designed to bring healing and rehabilitation in order to successfully reintegrate the survivors to their home communities.

 The RSN, she added, will provide trauma-informed care, psycho-social therapy, access to medical care, and educational assistance.

 During the launching of the RSN, a ceremonial signing of the City and Barangay Ordinance against Human Trafficking and Exploitation of Children was held by the city leaders.

 “This will be a continuous advocacy of the city and we are doing this to protect our citizens from the harm that is brought by human trafficking and exploitations,” added Mayor Lani.

 Human trafficking and exploitation especially cases in which violence is involved has been regarded as a crime by the United Nations, which has defined Trafficking in Persons as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.

 Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of human organs.

 Taguig City officials said the inauguration of the RSN facility also serves as a backdrop in the first ever Anti Human Trafficking Congress with a theme: “Break Free: End Modern-Day Slavery.”

 The inauguration was held at the Enderun Colleges, McKinley Hills in Taguig and was conducted by the IJM and the Department of the Interior and Local Government in partnership with the City Government of Taguig.

 Invited to participate and discuss the anti-human trafficking program and various measures under the theme “Unifying Local Government Units Against Human Trafficking” were representatives from the local government units, gender and development partners, social welfare groups, Philippine National Police, religious organizations and the law sector.

 The IJM disclosed that human trafficking is considered as the second most prevalent organized crime activity in the world, just after drugs and tied with illegal arms trafficking.

 The congress organized by the City of Taguig and IJM will be a valuable opportunity to gather and collaborate in-person with representatives of many of the organizations who are striving to end the tragedy of human trafficking. ###

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