The Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) sternly warned the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and other groups involved in armed hostilities to stop recruiting teens as part of their ranks. Else, they will be held liable for human trafficking charges with the highest possible penalties imposed by the law.
Justice Secretary Leila M. De Lima, chairperson of IACAT, expressed alarm over reports of teenagers, as young as 15-16 years old, being among the casualties in the recent skirmishes between the government forces and insurgents in Mindanao.
The enactment of RA 10364, otherwise known as the Expanded Human Trafficking Act of 2013, has given more teeth to the Philippine campaign to eradicate the evils of human trafficking. The expanded RA has included the mere attempt to traffic as a punishable offense, whereas previously, exploitative purposes must first be settled before an offender is punished. Barely a year after the passage of the expanded law, a first conviction for attempted trafficking was recorded.
Last December, a Regional Trial Court judge in Davao City handed the first conviction for Attempted Qualified Trafficking in Persons. Presiding Judge Salvador Ibarreta, Jr. of RTC Branch 8 of Region 11 granted the plea of the accused, Frederick Apique, to a lesser offense of Attempted Qualified Trafficking under Section 4(a) of Republic Act 9208 as amended by Republic Act No. 10364.
The Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) issued a stern warning against firecracker factories using children as workers in their operations, stating that the operators and handlers of these shops will be dealt with the full force of the law.
IACAT also urged local government units, down to the barangay level, to adopt measures to make sure that no children will be exploited as laborers in the hazardous manufacturing of firecrackers, which poses grave danger from accidents and also exposes workers to health problems.
Justice Secretary Leila M. De Lima, Chairperson of IACAT, emphasized the role of the local government units in monitoring these incidents of child labor especially in small shed operations that springs up in bunches when the holiday season approaches.
Esteemed leaders of faith-based communities, honoured allies in the struggle against human trafficking
Sisters and brother’s, ladies and gentlemen:
I am privileged to welcome you and greet you this afternoon, as we remark the 13th year of the signing of the Palermo Protocol against Trafficking in Persons; and I must say that I am awed by this inspiring spectacle. It is overwhelming to see a gathering of what we may call the willing ones: those who, regardless of differences in their beliefs and convictions, now pray as one believing people for our country, resolved to fight as one against the menace that is corrupting our society today, which is human trafficking.
The Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) hailed the recent set of human trafficking convictions in Region III as these cases mark a milestone in the government's fight against trafficking in persons (TIP), in that these were the first convictions in Angeles City, Pampanga, a widely known hub of trafficking activities in the country since the law was enacted in 2003.
Both cases were presided over by the Angeles City's Regional Trial Court Judge Ma. Angela T. Paras-Quiambao and rendered separately on October 01, 2013 and November 08, 2013. In both instances, the accused were found to be in violation of Section 4a (Acts of Trafficking) in relation to Section 6a (Trafficking of a minor) or Qualified Trafficking in Persons, as penalized by Section 10c, of Republic Act No. 9208.
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.
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