NCRFW hails move to curb child trafficking

The National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women (NCRFW) has welcomed the recent signing of an agreement that would curb the activities of child trafficking syndicates in the country.

NCRFW Chairperson Myrna T. Yao said that there is really a need for an effective mechanism to verify documents and other requirements for the placement of abandoned or neglected children with permanent families either here or abroad.

Chair Yao was reacting to the signing of a memorandum of understanding and cooperation (MOUC) by the Inter-Country Adoption Board (ICAB) with seven government agencies to prevent rampant trafficking of Filipino children.

The MOUC was signed by the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Justice, Department of Foreign Affairs, Bureau of Immigration, National Statistics Office, National Bureau of Investigation and the Association of Child Caring Agencies of the Philippines.

The signatories agreed to ensure the institutionalization of working relationships between and among government agencies involved in anti-trafficking of persons, especially girl-children.

According to ICAB board member Rafael Tinio, some adoptive parents conspire with unscrupulous social workers to speed up the process of adoption, adding that these unscrupulous social workers have resorted to producing fake documents.

Lawyer Bernadette Abejo, ICAB executive director, said that children (mostly female) who are victims of international traffickers usually end up in prostitution or domestic work.

Chair Yao said that trafficking in persons is a transnational crime and would need the cooperation of national and international agencies as well as bilateral agreements.

She said that as a member of the Interagency Committee against Trafficking (IACAT), the NCFRW has been working with the various government agencies in the implementation of Republic Act 9208 or the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003 by providing technical assistance on rights-based and gender-responsive handling of trafficking victim-survivors.

According to Chair Yao, the newly-signed Magna Carta of Women could further strengthen the government’s drive not just against trafficking of persons but also against any form of violence against women.