Cebu do­ing ‘a tremen­dous job’ vs. traf­fick­ing

Sun.Star Cebu - - FRONT PAGE -

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.”

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