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Gov’t steps up efforts vs human trafficking

April 20, 2011 ·  By Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

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Hon. Leila De Lima, the Secretary of the Department of Justice and Police Director General Raul M Bacalzo, the Chief of the Philippine National Police had shake hands after signing the memorandum of agreement betweent the PNP and the Prosecutors League of the Philippines

Hon. Leila De Lima, the Secretary of the Department of Justice and Police Director General Raul M Bacalzo, the Chief of the Philippine National Police had shake hands after signing the memorandum of agreement betweent the PNP and the Prosecutors League of the Philippines

MANILA (UPDATED) – In its continuing efforts to combat human trafficking, the Department of Justice (DOJ) inked today a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with human rights organization International Justice Mission (IJM) outlining areas of collaboration to stamp out this form of modern slavery.

The 7-page MOA was signed by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and Atty. Anacleto Rei Lacanilao III, IJM-Manila field office director. The signing was witnessed by Justice Undersecretary Jose Vicente Salazar, Undersecretary-in-charge of the DOJ Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force and Secretary Mely Nicolas of the Commission for Filipinos Overseas (CFO).

“For so long, the Philippines has been seen as a haven for human traffickers, who use our nation as a source, destination and transit point for their operations. They’ve been met with so much success that trafficking in human beings is now considered worldwide as one of the most profitable criminal activities, next to the arms and illegal drug trade,” de Lima said.

“Our aim is simple: succeed in removing the Philippines from their, ‘trade route’,” she said.

The DOJ and IJM have had collaborative partnerships in the fight against human trafficking since 2008, which led to the prosecution of 174 suspects of trafficking crimes.

“For those who are even now suffering in silence, victimized by traffickers and unable to win their own freedom, well-intentioned words will not be enough. They need rescue… They need to know that the public justice system will be working on their behalf,” Lacanilao said.

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