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Dumaguete City, PhilippinesMonday, January 10, 2011
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drive gets backing

In an effort to step up anti-human trafficking efforts in Negros Oriental, the Provincial Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking in Persons has engaged the support and cooperation of the local transportation sector in stamping out human trafficking activities, a Philippine Information Agency press release said.

The council recently conducted an orientation attended by heads of local transport groups, drivers associations and representatives from the Land Transportation Office in Negros Oriental.

The orientation aims to involve the transportation sector in the province’s fight against human trafficking, a Capitol sources said.

It added that the council believes that the public transportation sector has a key role in the campaign of the province against human trafficking as victims usually take the public transportation vehicles during trafficking activities.

During the orientation, the participants were briefed on Republic Act 9208, or the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003, and the status of trafficking in persons in the province, the press release said.

Drivers were also taught how to look for telltale signs of trafficking victims among their passengers so they can immediately inform the authorities.

Since PIACAT’s creation in 2006, it has included various sectors in its advocacy campaign, as it stepped up its efforts to stamp out human trafficking activities in the province.

It has been noted that initial efforts to fight human trafficking has been lacking after continued reports of trafficking victims in the province.

PIACAT officers have admitted the need to step up local anti-trafficking efforts, not only to save potential and current victims but also to improve the country’s image, the press release said.

The Philippines is currently placed in the US Department of State’s watchlist under the Tier 3 category, which is defined as “countries whose government do not fully comply with the minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so,” the press release said.

Records show that the province is also identified in the Tier 3 category in the country as a source of human trafficking victims.

Both the country and the province have been branded as source, transit and destination areas for human trafficking, the press release added.*

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