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Mission News


NYPM 030-2008



MANILA--Efforts exerted and strategies employed by Philippine authorities led by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to curb down human trafficking is more advanced and effective than the rest of Asia.

DOJ Undersecretary Ricardo Blancaflor, in a statement, attributed such observation to Paola Viero, an expert of the technical office of the directorate general for development cooperation of the Italian government; Marco Scarpati, an investigator on sexual exploitation of children and youth and currently president of End Child Pornography, Prostitution and Trafficking (ECPAT); and Maura Viezzoli, project evaluation manager.

The three officials are part of the Italian government's mission in supporting the United Nation Children's Fund (UNICEF) East Asian Project Against Abuse, Exploitation and Trafficking of Children presently being implemented in Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines.

UNICEF Philippines was represented by Foorough Foyouzat, a section chief in the agency's child protection program, and Atty. Anjanette Saguisag, a child protection specialist.

"Our Italian visitors are particularly impressed with the DOJ's Interagency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) as other nations in the Asian region are utilizing our laws, rules, policies and programs in combating human trafficking as model in developing their own," Blancaflor further stated.

He was referring to the Philippines' recently enacted law, the Anti-Trafficking Persons Act of 2003, which provides specific provisions and penalties in dealing with human traffickers caught red handed.

The DOJ's IACAT is at the forefront in the drawn out battle against trafficking in persons. It draws its committed support from expansive range of partners coming from various government agencies like the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Philippine National Police (PNP), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), private sector and international development organizations.

"They (Italians) also said that the Philippines is more advanced than most developing countries in Asia. Even more laudable is that IACAT's achievement of these goals without any funding from the government," Blancaflor pointed out.

Blancaflor also stated that the Italian mission has expressed interest in forming a partnership with the DOJ's IACAT to further increase it ability to combat human trafficking.

"The world's eyes are on us. We need to double up our efforts to fight the evil of trafficking that's been haunting us for ages. To do that we need all the help that we can get," he added.

He further stressed: "We still have a long way to go in the fight against trafficking but our team is ready and up to the challenge." (PNA)



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