Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Sex traffickers prey on 'Yolanda' children

Story originally published on November 10, 2014

A regional focal person for the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Eastern Visayas reported that more minors are being trafficked in Tacloban and neighboring areas that were affected by Super Typhoon Yolanda. Many are being recruited to work in bars and subjected to forced labor and prostitution. DSWD has rescued 50 victims, mostly minors, since last November. In some cases, the children’s mothers have acted as their pimps. Prostitution is a growing business in the area, where people are desperate for money to rebuild after the typhoon. Local government leaders are working to implement various measures to curb trafficking and prostitution in the area.  

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Sex Trafficking Isn't An 'Over There' Issue: 100,000 U.S. Kids Are Sold Into It Every Year

Story originally published on November 2, 2014

ECPAT-USA, an NGO that works to prevent the commercial sexual exploitation of children in the US, has released a new campaign highlighting the large number of American minors forced into the sex trade. The campaign reveals that more than 100,000 children are victims of sex trafficking in the US.  Carol Smolenski, the executive director of ECPAT-USA said that the primary targets of sexual exploitation are children in abusive families or situations, runaways, homeless children and foster children. ECPAT has developed a training program to help the hospitality industry identify and respond to child sexual exploitation.

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UK: Fix Bill to Protect Migrant Domestic Workers

Story originally published on November 17, 2014

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called on the UK's House of Lords to amend the Modern Slavery Bill to protect migrant domestic workers from abuse by their employers. In order to curb immigration, the British government removed the right of domestic workers to leave their employer and seek alternative work in April 2012. Since then, domestic workers have had only two choices, to return home or stay with employers even if they are being abused. The charity Kalayaan said that many domestic workers are being physically abused, paid below their agreed salary and have had their passports confiscated. Several Philippine domestic workers have been the victims of abuse, and when they finally leave their abusive employer, they are unable to stay in the UK legally. Many others opt to stay with their employer and do not complain to the authorities because they need any salary they were paid to send back home to their families.

A parliament committee report completed in April 2014 concluded that “tying domestic workers to their employer institutionalizes their abuse.” A representative of the HRW added that “by amending the Modern Slavery Bill, the House of Lords can help give abused workers the confidence to go to the police.”

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Trafficked Filipino teachers urged to step forward

Story originally published on October 24, 2014

The Philippine embassy in the US urges undocumented Filipino teachers who were victmized by illegal recruiters to come forward so the embassy could help them secure immigration relief.  . The embassy is trying to assist victims in obtaining paperwork to stay in the US. Around 300 teachers have already been given visas and can work legally in the US. The main recruiter, Isidro Rodriguez, a Philippine national who is being charged with illegal recruitment, alien smuggling, visa fraud and human trafficking by the Philippine and US Governments, is currently at large.  Many victims were told they would be paid between $10,000 and $15,000 for non-existent jobs. Upon arriving in the US and finding out there were no such positions, some returned home while others stayed in the US and worked illegally.

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Six minors rescued from human trafficking

Story originally published on October 22, 2014

Philippine police have rescued six victims of human trafficking from a karaoke bar in Zamboanga del Sur. All victims were female, and five of them were under 18. The police added that the victims were recruited to the bar without the knowledge of their parents and they have since been returned to their families. The owners of the karaoke bar are now under police investigation.


More minors in human trafficking cases in Region 11– DSWD

Story originally published on November 11, 2014

There has been an increase of human trafficking cases, particularly of minors, in the Davao region in the Philippines according to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).   DSWD handled at least 98 reported cases of human trafficking from January to October 2014, and at least 37 of the victims are between the ages of 13-17. The Philippines continues to be a tier 2 country under the US Trafficking Victims Protection Act.

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De Lima calls for campaign to beat human traffickers of OFWs to Syria

Story originally published on November 12, 2014

Philippine Secretary of Justice Leila de Lima is calling for a campaign to discourage Philippine migrant workers from traveling to Syria in light of reports that household service workers continue to be smuggled or trafficked to Syria despite a deployment ban imposed by the Philippines. De Lima urged the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) to come up with the plan and implement the advocacy campaign.

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