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The Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) conducted intensified operations in typhoon Pablo-ravaged areas in the provinces of Compostela Valley, Davao Oriental and Agusan Del Sur in Mindanao amidst reports of human trafficking syndicates preying on the mishaps and misfortunes of local residents affected by the typhoon.

DOJ Undersecretary-in-charge of IACAT, Jose Vicente Salazar, said that the team was dispatched to check on the veracity of those reports as well as to educate the communities on the perils of human trafficking and how to detect human trafficking offenders. “We must act fast as human trafficking syndicates are known to victimize members of depressed communities. The people must be apprised of these syndicates’ modus operandi and the evils of human trafficking.” added the Undersecretary.

Public dialogues and consultations with the communities were conducted recently, by the National Inter-Agency Task Force Against Trafficking (NIATFAT), headed by Senior Assistant City Prosecutor Raymond Jonathan Lledo, together with representatives from the Philippine National Police – Women and Children Protection Desk (PNP-WCPD), the Philippine National Police – Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) as well as participants from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNPF).

Lledo said they visited the towns of Nabunturan and Compostela in Compostela Valley, Boston in Davao Oriental and Prosperidad in Agusan del Sur. “We sought the cooperation of the members of the community to be vigilant and to report to the authorities any possible trafficking operations.” he said