The Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) spearheads a wide preventive campaign which raises awareness among local government units and various sectoral bodies through the conduct of the first online Barangay IACAT Information Campaign Against Trafficking in Persons held on 31 July 2020, in commemoration of the World Day Against Trafficking (WDAT). Taking advantage of the reach of the virtual platforms and the success of the first Barangay IACAT, the same activity was conducted on 9 and 11 November 2020, in partnership with the ASEAN-Australia Counter Trafficking (ASEAN-ACT), a counter-trafficking program funded by the Government of Australia.
The Barangay IACAT is being launched this year to serve as an avenue to reach Local Government Units, Barangays, communities, and the general public to understand and realize the situation of trafficking in persons in the country by learning its nature and manifestations. The program delves into the discussion on the prevalence of illegal recruitment and trafficking in persons, and the laws protecting migrant workers and precautionary measures before working abroad so as not to become victims of illegal recruitment or trafficking in persons. It likewise provides information on where and how to report cases of illegal recruitment or trafficking in persons and highlights the crucial role of the barangay officials in preventing the spread and proliferation of these crimes. Several pathways for quick reporting and monitoring have been identified to hasten government response and support down to the barangay level, at the same time synchronizing government stakeholders’ and TIP partners’ efforts and responses to address the plight of the victims of trafficking in persons and illegal recruitment.
Key officials and representatives of IACAT member-agencies such as Department of Justice (DOJ), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO), Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), and Philippine National Police (PNP) were the panel of resource speakers and experts for this educational webinar. Each of them are advocates and experts in the field of combatting human trafficking and its related crimes.
These series of online Barangay IACAT activities were broadcasted live via Youtube, Facebook and Zoom platforms and were attended by more than One Thousand (>1K) participants nationwide, consisting of barangay officials, youth leaders, students, civil society organizations and the general public from the Province of Pangasinan, Zamboanga del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Tarlac, Antique, Mindoro Occidental, Pagadian City, Province of Cebu, Sta. Rosa, Laguna, Batangas City, Province of Rizal, and Bukidnon, Ilocos Sur, Tabaco City, La Union, and Davao City.
Through this awareness campaign, IACAT will continue to improvise ways and means to reach the maximum number of individuals to make them understand the menace and evils of human trafficking.