The Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) urged local government units of calamity-ravaged areas to protect their constituents from human traffickers taking advantage of the resulting economic hardships in their areas.
Justice Secretary Leila M. De Lima, Chairperson of IACAT, said that the poverty, hunger, deaths and economic collapse in these areas make calamity survivors vulnerable and exposed to syndicates engaged in trafficking, promising high paying jobs but end up in sweat shops or brothels.
De Lima also encouraged local government officials to be vigilant in guarding the displaced and vulnerable from people dangling false hopes of fast cash and new employment, locally and abroad.
"Threats to those who have lost their spouses and those who have lost their parents from the onslaught of Yolanda are imminent," as she further stated that special attention should be given to children who have been recently orphaned and protect them from child trafficking organizations.
Cases of domestic trafficking have been recorded from the general Visayas area, which was severely hit by Typhoon Yolanda's rage. The deplorable situation of these areas triggers the natural response of individuals to escape and find better areas to settle on.
"The challenge for LGU officials lay on implementing identity checks on the individuals exiting these areas, especially those adults with children in tow," De Lima claimed.
Typhoon Yolanda (International Name: Haiyan), considered as one of the strongest storms to have made landfall in the Philippines left a trail of devastation. With winds gusting up to more than 270km/h, thousands of Filipinos have been displaced and majority rendered homeless.
"As we rebuild from the ruins left by that massive storm, we must stay cautious against dodgy characters lurking and seeking to exploit the vulnerabilities of those who survived Yolanda," De Lima concluded.