The International Labour Organization (ILO) reports that there are 246 million children around the world involved in child labor and 60% of them are found in Asia. This means that one in six children is engaged in economic activities that are exploitative in nature.
In its continuing commitment to fight and eliminate child labor menace in society, the Department of Labor and Employment – National Capital Region (DOLE-NCR) led a three-day orientation seminar on the Manual in the Conduct of Inspection, Rescue and Enforcement Proceedings in Child Labor and Trafficking Cases among members of the Sagip Batang Mangagawa – Quick Action Team and the NCR Child Labor Committee on March 7-9, 2012 at the Hotel Supreme, Baguio City.
The orientation aims to equip key players composed of inter-agency delegates, inspectorate, sheriffs, mediator-arbiters and hearing officers with knowledge and skills on the operational guidelines in the enforcement of Republic Act 9231, An Act Providing for the Elimination on the Worst Forms of Child Labor and Republic Act 9208, An Act to Institute Policies to Eliminate Trafficking in Persons Especially Women and Children.
The seminar also opened up more convergent activities through collaborative effort that complements each agency in terms of resources and manpower sharing for the efficient and effective implementation of anti-child labor and child protection laws.
DOLE-NCR Regional Director Alan M. Macaraya called for the commitment of government agencies and non-government organizations involved in addressing the problem of child labor and trafficking to take an active part in coming up with new schemes that will intensify government interventions to keep pace with the rampant abuse and exploitation of children that are happening now.
“We may have achieved some degree of success in term of rescue operations, closure of establishments and filing of administrative and criminal cases against erring establishments, but the challenge lies on how to sustain our efforts and come up with new strategies and fresh approaches to address emerging trends and issues in our fight to eliminate child labor and trafficking,” Director Macaraya said.
As criminal elements invoke the use of technology to advance their felonious schemes, Director Macaraya advocates the use of technology to work for the advantage of government efforts to run after syndicates involved in child labor and trafficking trades.
“Technology can help us, in the same way that technology can also make it difficult for us. If we plan to sustain and boost our functionality as a group, we should strengthen our linkage with one another using technology at our advantage. As the population continues to grow, child labor problem also worsens. Unless good people like us will not do something to curb-out wrong doing, then evil will succeed,” Director Macaraya said.
To date, there are 62 human traffickers and child labor offenders already convicted, 33 of which are convicted under the Aquino Administration. This affirms the commitment of the Aquino government to fully-implement the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003, pursues and prosecutes those engaging in illegal and predatory activities, including fixers, scammers and especially traffickers that target women and children, enshrined under President Aquino’s 22-point labor and employment agenda.
According to State City Prosecutor Winnie Edad, of the Manila Harbor Taskforce Against Trafficking, the Department of Justice, sitting as chairman of the Inter-Agency Committee Against Trafficking, puts emphasis not just on entrapment, rescue and closure operations but most importantly in court trial proceedings to nail down perpetrators and put them behind bars.
Participants of the three-day orientation seminar include Department of Justice (DOJ), National Bureau of Investigation -Anti-Human Trafficking Division (NBI-AHTRAD), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), National Capitol Region Police Office (NCRPO), Central Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), Department of Education (DepED), Department of Health -Center for Health and Development (DOH-CHD), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), National Statistics Office (NSO), Philippine Information Agency (PIA), International Justice Mission (IJM), Visayan Forum, ERDA Foundation, ECPAT and Hope for the Youth Foundation.