The Visayan Forum (VF) will combat human trafficking in the Philippines by:
- Conducting Island-wide multi-sectoral planning consultations with the aim of developing specific action-plans for the various phases of the Campaign Against Trafficking.
- Identifying and protecting victims and potential victims by providing immediate services in transit and destination areas. The VF will continue coordinating with its current partners to rescue potential victims of human trafficking in the current ports where it operates. In effect, continue the process of rescuing, healing and reintegration for victims of human trafficking. This is to ensure that victims can rebuild their lives and cope with physical and psychological damage incurred.
-Expanding partnerships to non-traditional partners. The VF and its partners will fight human trafficking in new fronts including the southern backdoor of the Philippines and in the airports with Memorandums of Agreement already signed and halfway houses being constructed. It will also expand partnerships further into transport operators, the recruitment industry, marketing agencies, faith-based institutions, schools, and communities. VF will help train its partners and service providers in fields including law and prosecution and in ensuring that the needs of the most vulnerable, especially young girls, are met.
- Advocating through tri-media and online presence. The VF will work with partners to launch the War Against Human Trafficking campaign. VF will recruit traditional and non-traditional stakeholders to be advocates for the issue. This is to ensure that at every possible juncture of trafficking, the victims are made aware of the risks of going with recruiters and in the false promises that they give.
Visayan Forum (VF) Foundation implementation actions include:
- Multisectoral Planning and Consultations: The Visayan Forum's Organization and Training Unit will conduct planning and consultations in critical areas and communities in the Philippines. VF plans to share best practices and to generate new ideas on how to combat traffickers.
- Rescue, Rehabilitation, Healing and Reintegration Process: The VF's Protective Care Unit is made up of respected and competent social workers and psychologists. Together with the Philippine Ports Authority and through tips from local communities and partners from source areas they will rescue victims in transit locations. They will engage the corporate sector in livelihood and life skill trainings.
- Expansion of Partnerships: The Executive Committee will tap new unconventional partners such as religious groups, local government units, government agencies, schools, and media outfits.
- Advocacy against trafficking: The newly created Resource Development Unit will create new materials and events that will help consciousness to warn Filipino people about the issue of trafficking. Partnerships have been established with marketing agencies and media outfits have helped in the design of an advocacy campaign called War Against Human Trafficking.
Trafficking in human beings is a critical global problem. Next to trafficking in money, drugs, and guns, it is among the most profitable underground businesses worldwide. The US Government estimates that during 2003 around 600,000 to 800,000 people were trafficked across transnational borders worldwide. Of those, it is believed that more than 80 percent are women and girls, 70 percent of whom are forced into sexual servitude. Actual trafficking figures are believed to be much higher - in the millions - because trafficking is difficult to monitor and is therefore underreported
The Philippines is known to be among the leading sources of migrant workers worldwide. The economy is heavily dependent on the eight million Filipinos working abroad, as are the economies of the countries where these migrant workers are employed. Tens (even hundreds) of thousand of these migrants are trafficked, lured by promises of a better life in the urban centers.
Traffickers clandestinely organize their transport operations via different ports and land routes in the Philippines. Internal trafficking is the springboard for international trafficking. Worldwide recruitment relies on intricate processes that start in far-flung communities. Traffickers operate in underground networks with strong connections to corrupt public officials and transport operators. Every year, thousands of Filipino women and children are trapped through the cycle of trafficking into a life of slavery, sexual exploitation and human rights violations.
SEEKING: Visayan Forum seeks resources and partnerships to: rescue and heal victims of human trafficking; to prevent trafficking in communities; to build more Centers of Hope; to support organized movements; and to introduce livelihood opportunities and social enterprises to the victim-survivors of human trafficking and their families and domestic workes.
OFFERING: implementing partners, best practices information.