MANILA – According to Call to Rescue, a non-government organization committed in rescuing victims of trafficking, violence and abuse, around 450,000 Filipinos are victimized by transnational human traffickers every year.
The NGO also disclosed that women and children are the target of international syndicates because they are easier to lure, especially those who are from dysfunctional families.
“We have around 450,000 Filipinos who fall prey to human traffickers every year precisely because we have a lot of vulnerable women and children in the country,” Call to Rescue head Anthony Pangilinan said.
“Some are recruited in public places, streets, bars, restaurants, through social media. Many are abducted while some are sweet-talked. They promise them some form of escape from their problems and that starts their journey towards being trafficked for sex and prostitution or hard labor. Many victims are forced into sham marriages where they are held as prisoners so they could provide children to their so-called husbands and are subjected to all kinds of abuse,” he added, pointing out that the country’s economic condition and parents’ lack of guidance to their children caused the crime to be rampant.
While the poor is more prone to human trafficking, even those from the middle and upper classes are sometimes victimized as well.
“Human trafficking does not only happen to those who need money but those who have it. They are vulnerable because syndicates would pay for victims who come from well-off families so kidnapping now is not only for ransom but also for trafficking. Some would be victimized because they have personal or family problems and so they find their way into syndicates,” Pangilinan said.
Call to Rescue then urged for stricter laws with regards to human trafficking. They also believed that stronger support from family and friends could lessen the chances of women and children being victimized.