AGAINST TRAFFICKING. The Inter-agency Council Against Trafficking Network in Davao Region (IACAT-11) opens its new office at the Davao International Airport on Friday (July 14, 2023). The office functions to assist the Philippine government in its quest to eradicate trafficking in persons and modern slavery in the country. (PNA photo by Robinson Niñal Jr.)

DAVAO CITY – The Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking in Davao Region (IACAT-11) has recorded at least 341 trafficking in person (TIP) survivors in the entire region from 2013 to July 14, 2023.

In a press briefing Friday, Regional Prosecutor and IACAT-11 chairperson Janet Grace Dalisay-Fabrero said that of the number, 105 are minors, most of whom are females in the 13 to 17 and 18 to 35 age groups.

At least 63 cases are currently pending in courts, Fabrero said, while 79 suspects have been convicted in the last 10 years.

The nature of the offenses include prostitution, sex trafficking or sexual exploitation, slavery, labor trafficking/ or forced labor, cybersex, pornography (8), child soldiers in armed conflict, and forced recruitment.

“We are not only focusing on online sexual exploitation and abuse of children but also the child exploitation and abuse material. Our coverage is already expanded, and we focus our campaign on that,” Fabrero said.

Fabrero also expressed concern on the wide use of internet access among children which she said a tool wherein they became prey to online exploitation.

“Very recently, I went to different provinces, and it can’t be denied that internet access is readily available. In fact, I was talking to the Department of Education teachers, and they said they cannot even monitor the access of the child on the internet because it is being regularly used nowadays,” she added.

Meanwhile, in order to bolster and strengthen the coordinated efforts of IACAT-11 in the prevention, eradication, and detection of trafficking, a new office was established at the Davao International Airport (DIA) on Friday.

“With the collaborative efforts, we have already documented numerous incidents of TIP at the airport. There’s a need to activate the DIA office to be more convenient not only for members operating here, but also to the victims,” Fabrero said.

TIP monitoring, she said, is not only limited to the airport but also on land and seaports.

“We have an active collaboration with the Philippine Coastguard and Philippine National Police Maritime. From time to time, we conduct anti-TIP campaigns all over the region,” Fabrero added.

IACT, she said, manages several programs for the victims such as legal, psychosocial counseling, skills training, support for victims and witnesses, residential care for protection, and other services. (PNA)