Only 15 child trafficking cases solved in five years nationwide

>> Sunday, December 20, 2009


Only 15 child trafficking cases were solved by different courts nationwide since enactment of Republic Act 9208 or the Anti-Trafficking of Persons Act.

Lawyer Ruth Bernabe, a local prosecutor in this mountain resort city, bared this gloomy scenario saying putting up together a case, especially in child trafficking, is very difficult that only a number of cases are being filed and acted upon by the judiciary over the past five years.

Based on a United States Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report, the Philippines was ranked under Tier 2 watch list because of the Philippine government’s virtual failure to show evidence of progress in convicting trafficking offenders, particularly those possible for labor trafficking.

In the local setting, the Department of Justice reported there were 679 child trafficking cases which were submitted for investigation and resolution, 253 cases awaiting resolution and the rest filed as violations of other penal laws, dismissed or withdrawn.

At the same time, the Department of Social Welfare and Development has served 231 children who were described to be victims of trafficking. Studies conducted by the Philippines Against Child Trafficking (PACT) showed number of children being trafficked was steadily increasing over the past several years despite existence of stiff penalties against traffickers. Aside from poverty, PACT cited other factors forcing children to be trafficked include socio-cultural economic and others.

In the Cordillera, while it is considered a child-friendly region because child trafficking cases are not rampant, people may not know what is happening in their surroundings. With the yuletide season, let us give more importance to the children.


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