Highest number of trafficked Pinoys recorded in Africa, ME

By Pia Lee-Brago, The Philippine Star

Posted at May 01 2014 08:55 AM | Updated as of May 01 2014 04:55 PM

MANILA - The highest number of trafficked and smuggled Filipinos was reported last year from Philippine foreign service posts in the Middle East and Africa.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said yesterday its anti-trafficking in persons efforts were centered in these two regions.

Officials in the Philippine embassies and consulates general in the Middle East and Africa pledged to continue to strive for a world without human trafficking at the closing of the DFA Regional Workshop on Trafficking in Persons for Foreign Service Posts.

It was undertaken in partnership with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

The regional workshop was held from April 22 to 27 in Ankara, Turkey.

It was organized to enhance the institutional capacity of the foreign service posts in the Middle East and Africa to assist Filipinos who are victims of or vulnerable to human trafficking.

The workshop modules focused on the basic concept of trafficking in persons, the international and Philippine legal frameworks in combating human trafficking, proper victim identification and protection, referral system, available aid to victims, case management, psychosocial counseling and the link between gender and trafficking.

Participants benefited from the experiences and insights of experts who served as resource speakers.

They included UNODC crime prevention and criminal justice officer Nicot Morgane, UNODC associate program officer Szilvia Petkov, IOM PAVE regional project manager Fitriana Nur, UNODC mental health expert Ido Lurie, IOM-Turkey emergency/psychosocial officer Mazen Aboul Hosn, DSWD capacity building bureau director Margarita Sampang, and IOM-Turkey counter-trafficking expert Anastasia Saglam.

Each embassy and consulate general also presented a snapshot of the human trafficking situation in the host countries.

The regional workshop was spearheaded by DFA-OUMWA, headed by Undersecretary Jesus Yabes and the Philippine embassy in Ankara, led by Ambassador Rowena Mendoza-Sanchez.