DAVAO City  -Scaling up its fight against trafficking in person (TIP), the Regional Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (RIACAT) launched recently the 2013 Advocacy Campaign Against Human Trafficking at the NCCC Mall Atrium. Following the campaign launch was the Signing of the Pledge of Commitment by all member agencies and stakeholders.

This initiative proves Davao Region’s mettle in protecting and preserving human rights and apprehending violators and perpetrators of RA 9208 or Trafficking in Persons Act.

The Council was created in November 2003 under the mandate of RA 9208 and RA 9262. It is a concrete response to the international protocol of the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women or CEDAW, the International Human Rights Law, the Humanitarian Law and other human rights instrumentalities.

RIACAT  is chaired by the Department of Justice with member agencies such as DSWD, DILG, DEPED, DOH, DFA, DOLE, POEA, OWWA, PPA, ATO, PNP, CIDG, NBI, BI, Visayan Forum, Mindanao Migrants , CHR, Tambayan Center, Commission of Overseas Workers, IGDD and CSSDO.

In July 2012, the Council opened its RIACAT Desk at the Davao International Airport which is situated within the departure area of the international terminal.

To effectively operationalize the Recovery and Reintegration Program for Trafficked Persons, RIACAT has embarked on capacity building of concerned persons, strong collaboration with local government units, advocacy campaign, and other support services for TIP victim-survivors.

Vigilant as ever to judiciously and promptly solve cases on TIP , RIACAT has actively coordinated with Department of Justice, Visayan Forum, other DSWD Regional Offices, LGU Social Welfare and Development Offices in other regions,  Tambayan Center, OWWA, PNP’s Women and Child Protection Division, Bureau of Immigration, and local Police Precincts.

Forms of trafficking in persons (TIP) may include sexual exploitation, forced labor or involuntary servitude, removal or sale of organs, armed activities of children, cybersex and sex tours.

For a smooth rescue and recovery operation, RIACAT also has actively collaborated with the local government units of Davao Oriental, Compostela Valley, Davao Del Sur, Davao Del Norte and Davao City.

Further, believing in the power of media to inform and educate, engagement with media partners was intensified where substantial publicity was generated from print, television and radio.

To capacitate LGU and NGO social workers, RIACAT trained them on Psycho-Social Recovery and Social and Economic Reintegration of TIP. Meanwhile, DSWD staff, family stakeholders and KALIPI women group were oriented on Trafficking in Persons Act.

As a means of improving the clientele’s lot, RIACAT extended to TIP victim-survivors livelihood assistance through DSWD Sustainable Livelihood Program and skills training on basic cooking under DepEd’s Alternative Learning System (ALS).  More importantly, TIP victim-survivors were provided with psycho-social interventions as well as transportation assistance.

Solid in its resolve to put a stop to TIP, the Council signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between Davao City Mayor Sara Z. Duterte, Panabo City Mayor Jose Silvosa Sr. and Davao Del Norte Gov. Rodolfo P. Del Rosario, to respond to the growing concerns against possible incidence of trafficking in persons.

A MOA was also inked between the Council and Davao Oriental Gov. Corazon N. Malanyaon and Compostela Valley Gov. Arturo T. Uy, to replicate the IACAT XI Network in the two provinces.

Presently, RIACAT continuously conducts rigorous promotion of the Trafficking in Persons Act and organization of PIACAT VAWC in other provinces.  DSWD