Cebu doing ‘a tremendous job’ vs. trafficking
A WHITE House official lauded the anti-sex trafficking campaign in Cebu and vowed that the US Government will continue its partnership with government agencies and civil society groups in fighting “modern-day slavery.”
Joshua DuBois, special assistant to US President Barack Obama and executive director of the White House Office of Faith- based and Neighborhood Partnerships, talked with stakeholders of the anti-sex trafficking campaign in Cebu last Thursday.
He also visited the center for trafficking victims in Mandaue City to learn about the Mandaue Reintegration Support Network for Sex Trafficking Survivors, a project of the City Government and the International Justice Mission (IJM) Philippines.
“Cebu is doing a tremendous job caring for victims and prosecuting perpetrators and I want to applaud the government here, the police department, the pros-
ecutors and the NGOs for the work they are putting in to help (sex trafficking victims),” DuBois told reporters.
“Our approach as the United States Government is to think about how we can partner with you to continue and to strengthen that work,” DuBois added.
Violeta Cavada, head of the Mandaue City Social Welfare Services (CSWS), said she and representatives of non-government organizations (NGOs) providing after-care services to trafficking victims shared their experiences with DuBois.
The Mandaue CSWS recently established the Women’s Center with the help of the IJM Philippines.
Group therapy and counseling sessions for sex trafficking victims who are back in their communities are held at the center.
The center is part of the reintegration support network project, which aims to promote the wellbeing of trafficking survivors through a supportive community and a network of professional volunteers.
Social welfare officer Pureza Tabuac said 54 sex trafficking survivors in Mandaue have reintegrated into their communities and are attending the sessions.
At the center, trafficking survivors are given free dental and medical services. The City Government also provides them with rice, noodles and canned goods.
From 2007 to present, authorities have rescued 106 victims of sex trafficking from Mandaue, according to the Mandaue CSWS.
“Human trafficking anywhere is alarming. What is encouraging is the work of your government and the work of your NGOs to address this issue,” DuBois said. “We are excited to partner further in the days ahead.”