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.
The Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT), chaired by Justice Secretary Leila M. De Lima, hailed the conviction of a man charged with trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of minors. On March 19, 2013, Judge Roberto P. Quiroz of Manila Regional Trial Court, Branch 29, sentenced Sonny Francisco to life imprisonment for Qualified Trafficking, the most severe infringement of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act (R.A. 9208).
Identities and circumstances of human trafficking offenders are no longer held “sacred” in the recently signed Republic Act 10364 or the Expanded Anti-Human Trafficking Law which amended Republic Act 9208 that previously gave confidentiality protection to victims and also erroneously extended the same to human traffickers.
The Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) is set to fortify the gains of the government against the elements of human trafficking as Malacanang signed Republic Act No. 10364 or the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012 into law last February 06, 2013, amending Republic Act No. 9208 or the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act.
Justice Secretary Leila M. De Lima, Chair of IACAT, said “the signing of the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012 will give the government a stronger weapon against human trafficking syndicates.”
By Assistant Secretary Lila Ramos Shahani
It begins with a painful, all-too-familiar story. The friend of a friend promises a young girl from an impoverished family a high-paying job abroad as a waitress. The amount being offered both astonishes and delights her, and she responds with a resounding yes. How can she not want to help her family, after all? Magically, the paper work is prepared in the blink of an eye.