18-day Campaign to End Violence Against Women and Children

Internal and cross-border trafficking of women and children remains one of the worst forms of human rights violations and it continues to increase. Trafficking of women and children is one of the main issues to be addressed by the 18-Day Campaign to End Violence Against Women and Children.

Philippines Against Child Trafficking (PACT) joins the 18-Day Campaign to End Violence Against Women and Children. PACT is a network of advocates against child trafficking established in 2002. The nationwide campaign brings together all the active government agencies, non-governmental organisations, national and international agencies determined to stop child trafficking. The campaign runs from November 25 to December 12, 2006.

December 12 is a historic day that commemorates the signing of the UN Protocol to Prevent and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, supplementing the UN Convention against Transnational Organised Crime in Palermo, Italy.

Women and children in the Philippines are vulnerable to human trafficking. From 2003-2006, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) responded to 1449 cases of trafficking. Three hundred and eleven of these cases were children below 12 years old, while 649 victims were 13-17 years old. Out of the total of 1449 trafficking cases, 1175 were girls and women.

As for child victims, the over-all profile of the trafficked child can be described as generally female;13-17 years old; high school drop-out with parents working in the informal sector and with no regular monthly income, for example fish vendor, jeepney driver, domestic helper, etc.

The children find themselves in the worst conditions where they experience abuse, violence and harassment from employers and customers. They are deprived of rest, sleep and leisure time. They do not get the promised income and even accumulate debts. They are drugged, locked-up, punished for "offenses." They suffer from poor health and risk acquiring sexually-transmitted diseases.

An important step in solving the complex crime is the ratification of Republic Act 9208, the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003. The law declares that "the state shall give highest priority to the enactment of measures and development of programs that will promote human dignity, protect people from violence and exploitation, eliminate trafficking in persons and mitigate pressure for involuntary migration and servitude of persons to ensure their recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration."

This year's 18-Day Campaign to End Violence Against Women and Children shall focus on the call towards more effective implementation of the following laws:

RA 9208-Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003; RA 9262-Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children Act of 2004; RA 8353-Anti-Rape Law of 1997;

RA 8505-Rape Victims Assistance Act; and RA 7877-Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995.

PACT pushed for the petition to officially recognize December 12 as National Day Against Trafficking in December 2003 when it first launched a weeklong public awareness campaign about child trafficking. The historic date marks the adoption of the UN Protocol to Prevent, Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children. Since the start of the anniversary celebration in 2003, December became a very special month replete with educational and commemorative activities.

In 2006, PACT conducts nationwide activities during the campaign period like press conferences, print and broadcast media interviews, theatrical performances, anti-child trafficking forums, poster-making contests, inter-faith prayer activities, lobbying for local ordinances, gender sensitivity sessions, community education sessions, motorcades and caravans.

PACT campaign partners will hold these activities in key cities like Metro Manila, Davao City, Ozamis City, Cagayan de Oro City, Isabela City, Pagadian City, Iligan City, Iloilo City, Cabanatuan City, Zamboanga City, Kidapawan City, Lucena City ; and in the provinces of Camarines Norte, Cavite, Bukidnon, Agusan Sur and Bohol.

PACT works in partnership with the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT), National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women (NCRFW), Inter-Agency Council on Violence Against Women and Children (IAC-VAWC), Terre Des Hommes Germany and Terre Des Hommes Netherlands, the Asia Partnership on Human Development and Unicef Manila.


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