The Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT), the lead anti-human trafficking body of the Philippines, cited the second leg of the Freedom Ride Project held in Iloilo last Saturday, April 20, 2013.
Some four hundred (400) cyclists convened at the Iloilo Provincial Capitol Building and took part in the 25 kilometer fun ride. According to DAKILA, organizer of the event, the ride was intended to raise public awareness of the anti-human trafficking Actionline, 1343.
IACAT, headed by its chairperson Justice Secretary Leila M. De Lima, expressed that the project is a welcome addition to the other information campaign initiated by council members, NGO partners and task forces scattered all over the country. Previous campaigns included radio and television ads and infomercials both made possible with the cooperation of the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkasters sa Pilipinas (KBP).
Last 2011, IACAT launched the 1343 IACAT Anti-human trafficking actionline through one of its council members, the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO). Funded by IACAT, the actionline was dedicated to combat human trafficking and related cases by receiving and immediately responding to request for assistance, inquiries and referrals from the victims and their families pertaining to human trafficking.
Likewise, IACAT also introduced in 2012 the IACAT Public Assistance Corner (I-PAC). Accessed through its website (www.iacat.gov.ph), this served as the cheaper and faster alternative in seeking aid from the government with regards to cases involving human trafficking. This affirmed IACAT’s commitment in aggressively hunting down human trafficking syndicates and give assistance to Filipinos, here and abroad, through a web-based platform
The 25-kilometer bike ride passed around major roads along the 6 districts of Iloilo City. Dubbed as “Freedom Warriors,” the cyclists donned shirts promoting the 1343 anti-trafficking hotline intended to draw public attention to IACAT’s 1343 Actionline.
“The 1343 Actionline and IPAC has been instrumental in our fight against human trafficking,” said Justice Undersecretary Jose Vicente B. Salazar, in-charge of IACAT. “Recently, the service has even expanded to accommodate reporting through text messaging,” Salazar added. 30