PH, Indonesia to step up drive vs human trafficking

By Edu Punay, The Philippine Star

Posted at Mar 24 2014 10:05 AM | Updated as of Mar 24 2014 06:05 PM

MANILA - The Philippines and Indonesia have agreed to intensify efforts to crack down on human trafficking, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) said yesterday.

In a statement, Immigration Commissioner Siegfred Mison said a delegation from Indonesia visited the country last week and met with him.

He said they agreed to strengthen cooperation to address the serious plight of refugees and asylum seekers of other nationalities entering their borders.

The visiting group was composed of officials and members of the “Desk of People Smuggling, Refugee and Asylum Seeker of the Coordinating Ministry of Political, Legal and Security Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia.”

During the meeting, Mison cited the need for stronger cooperation and tighter measures since detecting human trafficking victims is rather difficult, considering millions of people come and go through the ports each year.

Authorities from Indonesia noted that most victims of human trafficking are Filipinos desperately seeking jobs abroad using tourist visas falsified by syndicates.

In many cases, women and children fall prey to human trafficking and end up prostituted in other countries, a problem intended to be eliminated by Republic Act No. 9208 (Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act 2003) and RA 10364 or the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act.

The police rescued at least 11 people reportedly victims of illegal recruitment and human trafficking in Zamboanga City on Saturday.

The victims were mostly from Palawan and Mapun Island who were rescued by the police in a house in Barangay Putik after they were seen by roving village watchmen.

Regional police spokesman Chief Inspector Ariel Huesca said village council members immediately reported to the police that led the rescue of the victims.

The victims were identified as Cirilo Tumandao, 29; Julhassan Edding, 24; Ridzhal Emmoh, 22; Richter Ace Alba Seguit, 22; Narael Tumanda, 19; Enrile Tipli, 40, all of Palawan; Sayree Awan, 37; Alhin Tahil, 21; Danilo Emmo, 33; Alhalcam Rodriguez, 19; and Halim Alih, 27, all from Mapun Island, Tawi-Tawi.

Police said the victims will be turned over to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to process their transport back home. -Roel Pareño