Byline: Florangel Rosario Braid
SUSAN "Toots" Ople, president of the Blas F. Ople Policy Center sent me a copy of a CD produced by the Center entitled S.O.S: SYRIA, Stop Human Trafficking. It is estimated that 300 to 400 thousand women are trafficked annually, yet rarely are the voices of these women heard.
Through the testimonial of Alicia Reyes, a human trafficking survivor, S.O.S. Syria provides a glimpse of the hardships that victims of human trafficking are forced to face. She tells us how she was misled by her agency with the promise of a legitimate, decent-paying job abroad, only to be sold later on like a slave to Syrian nationals. Raped, abused, and exploited, the Blas F. Ople Policy Center helped bring her and other victims of exploitation back home. Aside from helping distressed OFWs come home, the Center conduocts livelihood trainings and writing workshops. Contact address is firstname.lastname@example.org
The Rules and Regulations Implementing Republic Act No. 9208, otherwise known as the "Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003", defines "trafficking in persons as the recruitment, transportation, transfer or harboring, or receipt of persons, with or without the victim's consent or knowledge, within or across national borders by means of threat or use of force, or other forms of coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power or position, taking advantage of the vulnerability of the person, or, the giving on receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person for the purpose of exploitation which includes at a minimum, the exploitation or the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery, servitude, or the removal or sale of organs."
The penalties are severe and for the eight listed acts of trafficking, the person or group shall suffer the penalty of imprisonment of twenty years and a fine of not less than one million pesos, but not more than two million pesos. Those who promote or facilitate the acts of trafficking shall be penalized with imprisonment of 15 years, and a fine of not less than five hundred thousand pesos but not more than one million pesos.
A recent report of the US State Department had praised the Philippines for making some progress in arresting, prosecuting, and convicting traffickers. …