DSWD-12 sets up referral desk, database for human trafficking victims

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/ 24 September)– The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Region 12 or the Soccsksargen Region has established a referral and data management system to strengthen the implementation of the government’s Recovery and Reintegration Program for Trafficked Persons (RRPTP) in the area.

Amina Dataya, social technology unit head of DSWD Region 12, said such move was part of their ongoing efforts to properly address the needs of victims of human trafficking and other related cases within the region’s four provinces and five cities.

Region 12 covers the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.

She said they initially linked up with local government units (LGUs) in the region to facilitate the establishment of the referral system and installation of the data management system for victims of human trafficking in the area.

Dataya said they recently conducted a three-day training for LGU implementers on the handling of database of trafficked persons as part of the RRPTP.

The trainees comprised social workers, local focal persons on trafficking program and members of the region’s Interagency Council Against Trafficking (ICAT), she said.

“The training focused on the development of indicators on recovery and
reintegration, the establishment of the referral system and the
installation of the data management system,” she said.

Dataya said the referral and data management systems will mainly be used by agencies involved in the protection and support of trafficked persons.

The DSWD acts as the lead agency in providing livelihood and skills training as part of the enhanced RRPTP, which was launched by the national government as a support initiative for victims of human trafficking.

Since January, Dataya said their office has already served 165 victims of human trafficking in the region through the RRPTP.

“We provided them basic economic assistance, skills training and offered some livelihood opportunities,” she said.

ICAT has been closely watching several areas in the region due to surge in human trafficking cases in the last several years.

Dataya explained that human trafficking happens when recruiters intend to use their recruits for exploitative purposes such as prostitution, forced labor and slavery, sex tourism, sexual exploitation, debt bondage and pornography.

Human traffickers operate in the form of illegal recruitment, illegal migration, mail order bride, foreign training or internship, religious pilgrimage and cultural exchange and promotion, she said.

Last May, the National Bureau of Investigation rescued 16 minors in Koronadal City who were recruited by an alleged human trafficker for supposed overseas jobs. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)