PNoy still No.1 human trafficker – group

MIGRANTE Partylist affirmed the latest report of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons that human trafficking remains rampant and is worsening in the Philippines.

Migrante Partylist and Migrante International submitted an independent report to UN Special Rapporteur Joy Ngozi Ezeilo during her official country visit and investigation here in the Philippines last November 5-9. (please see  attached)

Among the cases they highlighted are the continuous labor trafficking of OFWs to Syria, Jordan and Lebanon when deployment bans were in place, human trafficking of groups of workers to different states in the US, human trafficking that resulted in rape and sexual harassment and human trafficking that resulted in foul play or mysterious deaths.

“Human trafficking is still rampant and operating in record-high levels in the Philippines yet the government seems to deliberately refuse to acknowledge this. In fact, the DFA, in its annual report, does not have any data on the many cases of trafficking of our OFWs. The accountability rate of perpetrators and coddlers in government also remain very dismal,” said Regalado.

According to Connie Bragas-Regalado, Migrante Partylist chairperson, the Philippine goverment is still the leading human trafficker of its workers.

She said that the Aquino administration’s failure to curb human trafficking was further confirmed in the continuous deployment of overseas Filipino workers to countries with deployment bans, namely, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) recently admitted that at least 100 Filipino workers were being trafficked monthly into conflict-ridden Syria even after the government imposed an Alert Level 4 because of the escalating violence in the country.

Section 3 of Republic Act 8042, or the Migrant Workers Act, states that the government will only allow deployment if the host country “has existing labor laws and social laws protecting the rights of workers; is a signatory to and/or a ratifier of multilateral conventions, declarations or resolutions relating to the protection of workers; and has included a bilateral agreement or arrangement with the government on the protection of the rights of OFWs.”

However, Bragas-Regalado said, instead of guaranteeing this and ensuring funds to repatriate the stranded OFWs, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Sec. Rosalinda Baldoz sent a delegation to Jordan last May 2012 and negotiated the lifting of the deployment ban on OFWs.

“What the government should have done was to pinpoint, pursue and punish human traffickers of OFWs. Mas inuna pa nila ang pagpapa-lift ng ban,” she said.

Moreover, the Bragas-Regalado said that the Aquino administration had done nothing to address the roots of human trafficking and forced migration.

“Trafficking of Filipino workers cannot be stopped and justice for the victims will not be realized unless the government takes drastic action against the recruiters, and most especially their coddlers in government. And ultimately, the Philippine government will not be able to put a stop to human trafficking until it decisively addresses the root causes of forced migration that make our workers more desperate and vulnerable to trafficking syndicates.”

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