TAGUM CITY, Davao del Norte Jan. 7 (PIA) — Mindanao is prone to trafficking, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Undersecretary Luzviminda C. Ilagan said as she raised the need for community information regarding trafficking.

Basing on her experience, Ilagan cited the vulnerability of Mindanao which has now become prone to natural calamities and where poverty incidence is still high.

She said the evacuation sites where places to watch especially when man-made or natural disaster would occur because “these are where trafficking happens”.

Brushing aside literacy as a factor, she noted that even when victims knew the danger, they succumbed due to “pressing needs”.

“Mao ni ang bantayan kay kung naay evacuation center, daghang babae ang ma-traffic. (There is a need to keep an eye on evacuation sites where a number of women have been trafficked),” she said.

“Because of the circumstances kay bisan ug kabalo sila (because even if they know) that something is wrong with illegal recruitment, but because of the need,” she added, explaining that pressing needs usually drive victims to succumb to illegal recruitment leading to trafficking.

Ilagan said families in communities should be made aware of the dangers of trafficking or the transport of people who are being exploited through deceptive promises usually of good jobs.

She also pointed out the need for public information, inter-agency cooperation, strengthening of local trafficking councils which firm up local government policies.

The Undersecretary, however, expected local anti-trafficking councils to be funded by local government units (LGUs) because of some expenses that would be incurred in running the affairs of such council.

“So kinahanglan nga kining nga kampanya mapadayon ug inter-agency all of government jud ang approach. Kay dili pwede nga buhaton sa usa lang ka ahensiya. (it is important to sustain this campaign and this interagency (council) but it has to be all of government approach because one agency cannot do it alone.),” she said.

If not at the town levels, city and provincial level inter-agency council on trafficking would be good enough to pool together agencies of national government to check trafficking of persons.

Meanwhile, DSWD XI Regional Director Mercedita  P. Jabagat saw the crucial role of the Barangay Council for the Protection of Children (BCPC)  in checking incidence of trafficking of children  in communities not just looking into cases of children in conflict with the law (CICL).

DSWD along with other members of the Regional Interagency Council against Trafficking (RIACAT) held observance of International Day Against Trafficking (IDAT) in December in Tagum City with Atty. Rudiger G. Falcis II, executive director of IACAT Department of Justice.

The event bannered the theme, “Karapatan ng Kabataan Pangalagaan, Human Trafficking ay Labanan”.  (PIA XI/Jeanevive Duron Abangan)