The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Field Office Caraga led this year’s World Day Against Trafficking (WDAT) celebration with a month-long advocacy campaign, together with partner National Government Agencies (NGA), Non-Government Organizations, and Civil Society Organizations.
DSWD, being the lead agency of the Regional Inter-Agency Committee Against Trafficking- Violence Against Women and their Children (RIACAT-VAWC) Caraga, had several activities lined up for July until August for the said celebration.
Part of the celebration was the service to the communities through the dissemination of information about trafficking. It has been observed that there is an increase of active cases of trafficking in the region especially this time of pandemic.
Online Sexual Abuse and Exploitation on Children (OSEC) has had a steady increase of cases, basically because of the strict quarantine protocols, which has forced people to stay at home. OSEC is a type of trafficking wherein the victims are asked by predators to do malicious acts online in exchange for money.
Human trafficking is a significant issue in the Philippines. Every 30th of July, the country celebrates World Day Against Trafficking to raise awareness of the situation of victims of human trafficking and for the promotion and protection of their rights. And to support this cause, the country passed the Anti-Trafficking in Person Act of 2003 (RA 9208) which was later changed to The Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012 (RA 10364).
This year’s theme for the celebration is “Isang Bayan, Isang Paninidigan Laban sa Trafficking ng Mamamayan”. DSWD, together with the RIACAT-VAWC Caraga prepared different activities to raise awareness about the cause of the celebration despite the pandemic. Production and posting of Advocacy Tarpaulins, Online Poster-Making Contest, Virtual Press Conferences, usage of Advocacy Facebook Frame and Webinar Advocacy Sessions with topics about (a) Child Online Protection during COVID-19 Pandemic for Children and Youth, Pantawid Pamilya Beneficiaries, BCPC, VAW Desk Officers, Government Agencies, and RIACAT-VAWC members (b) Internet Safety during COVID-19 Pandemic and Reporting Channels concerning Child Online Protection and other -related Gender Based Violence, and (c) #KeepingSafe: How to be Safe Online during COVID-19 Pandemic were the highlights of the month-long celebration.
The activities were conducted to encourage the other agencies and the public to participate in the efforts to curb trafficking cases, to provide importance to the victim-survivors of trafficking and VAWC, and to minimize the number of trafficking and VAWC cases through the advocacy activities conducted.
DSWD FO Caraga continues to serve and protect the well-being of the Caraganons particularly this time of the pandemic. The Agency encourages everyone to be more active in raising awareness about the dangers of trafficking and to be more vigilant and report possible VAWC cases to the nearest VAWC Desk Office or Social Welfare and Development satellite offices.###