Traffickers Preying On Children In Southern Philippines

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I wish something could be done about these scum bags,also educating parents to the possibility's of what could happen to their children might help.Tom the Philippines, where human traffickers are reportedly targetting children displaced by a separatist insurgency on the southern island of Mindanao.The Visayan Forum Foundation, which monitors human trafficking in the Philippines, says groups are prowling evacuation camps on Mindanao, looking for children. The Foundation says the children are flown overseas to work as child labourers.Presenter: Sen LamSpeaker: Cecilia Oebanda, Visayan Forum Foundation's presidentCECILIA OEBANDA: Actually, as of now, it's very difficult to identify because there are a lot of exit points now in the Philippines and some of them are actually exiting in Zamboanga which is considered as the back door to going to Malaysia and Indonesia and of course also groups of girls who are actually exiting in Manila International Airport. So as of now, the Government is really having a hard time to present a solid statistics on how many children are affected by this problem. SEN LAM: So the Government is actually aware of this problem? CECILIA OEBANDA: Well, definitely, because we also called their attention on the human trafficking and there are some activities that we actually jointly conducted in order to respond to this problem. SEN LAM: And I understand recently you intercepted some children at the airport? CECILIA OEBANDA: Yes, around 32 children were intercepted in the airport. Actually, what happened is that we intercepted five of them bound to Saudi Arabia. And during the interception we discovered - the physical image really showed that they were children. Then when the police, together with our social worker, checked their papers and we discovered that most of their papers were actually fake, especially their passports. SEN LAM: So who are these traffickers trawling the Philippines for children displaced by the conflict, are they Filipinos or foreigners? CECILIA OEBANDA: Yes, they're Filipino, but definitely this is very syndicated, because they have their contacts in the destination area, they have contacts in urban centres and we believe that this is a very organised crime. What really is the heart-breaking situation is even the children in the evacuation camp are vulnerable to this kind of crime. SEN LAM: Indeed, I understand that it is these children in the evacuation camps who are most at risk. Why is this so? Is it because their parents are missing? CECILIA OEBANDA: Some of the parents are missing but of course, the whole family itself is caught in the situation - they don't have any options at all. And they would like to leave the evacuation camp. The traffickers also really take advantage of this situation, out of the desperation of these people who are staying in that camp. SEN LAM: Do you mean to say that some of these parents willingly part with their children? CECILIA OEBANDA: Some, yeah, because they are also deceived by the traffickers and promised that their children will be taken care of and they will be treated well. You know, and out of desperation and some ignorance, some of these parents actually allow their children to go with the trafficker without the knowledge of the situations that their children might be encountering. SEN LAM: Do you think better management of the camps might help? CECILIA OEBANDA: Yes, definitely, definitely. I think giving a good solution, a long-term solution to this problem and an immediate response to the displacement of peoples and allow them to grow up with their normal life so that they can have their own livelihood and they can take care of their children. I feel that these things can really reduce the vulnerability of the peoples in trafficking.

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