US Backs IOM Anti-Trafficking Activities in Typhoon-affected Areas of Philippines
IOM - Oct-21-2014 - Philippines
Typhoon Haiyan, which devastated the Central Philippines almost one year ago, has led to a rising concern in human trafficking in the affected area. IOM and its partners have been tackling this trend since the week of the disaster, registering people leaving the area through the Migration Outflow Desks and informing them of the dangers posed by human traffickers.
In Tacloban their efforts received a vital boost, with the announcement by US Ambassador Philip S. Goldberg that IOM will receive a new two-year grant totaling USD 353,000, working in close cooperation with the Philippines Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) and the US State Department Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (J/TIP).
The new project "Victim-Centered Counter-Trafficking Awareness in Typhoon Haiyan Affected Areas in the Visayas" will be implemented in Tacloban City, Ormoc and Cebu. The key objectives are to improve access to referral channels through awareness-raising activities; strengthen the capacity of service providers to identify and assist victims of trafficking; and improve direct assistance through a Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Emergency Support Fund.
Ambassador Goldberg noted that IOM is a perfect partner for the Philippine government in the fight against human trafficking due to its expertise and local presence. "Human trafficking is a global problem that requires both a global and local response," he noted.
The Ambassador went on to praise the collaboration of local civil society, government agencies and IOM in their prompt humanitarian and anti-trafficking response in the days and months following the typhoon.
IOM Philippines Chief of Mission Marco Boasso said that IOM has been working on the field of counter-trafficking in the Philippines since 1996, and with IOM's migration crisis operational framework as a key sector in emergency response.
In the year since Haiyan, 1,600 people affected by trafficking have received psychosocial support, while 60,000 more have been given information on legal and other services, through IOM and its partners in government and civil society, he said.
Corazon "Dinky" Soliman, Secretary of the Philippines Department for Social Welfare and Development has commended IOM and the US J/TIP for their efforts in protecting the most vulnerable in Haiyan-affected areas.