In 3 years of 'Project Lantern': 259 victims of human trafficking rescued
() - November 8, 2010 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines – The human rights organization International Justice Mission has reported 259 rescued sex trafficking victims since it launched Project Lantern in Metro Cebu three years ago.

Of those rescued, 114 were saved were during operations conducted by PL itself while 145 were rescued by PL-trained police officers.

IJM assisted law enforcers in 36 anti-trafficking operations, which resulted in the arrest of 77 suspected traffickers. The agency also assisted law enforcement investigations which resulted in 107 perpetrators being charged in court for violations of Republic Act 9208 also known as the Philippine Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003.

In March 2007, IJM launched PL in Metro Cebu with the goal of demonstrating the effectiveness of a law enforcement-based strategy to reduce the prevalence of sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of children.

The group partnered with local and regional government agencies and non-government organizations to reduce the availability of trafficked women and children for sexual exploitation in commercial sex establishments and street-based prostitution in Metro Cebu.

IJM reported that a team of criminologists found a 79 percent reduction in the availability of minors for sex after the program was launched, an indication that the publicly available market in minors trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation decreased dramatically.

After each successful anti-trafficking operation, IJM social workers worked closely with the Department of Social Welfare and Development 7 and other care providers to ensure that each rescued victim received adequate support during the recovery period. 

From 2007 to September 30, 2010, IJM aftercare staff provided assistance to 228 victims who were either rescued in Metro Cebu or were originally trafficked from Metro Cebu.

IJM aftercare staff also provided assistance to 38 additional individuals directly involved in trafficking cases. There are 194 individuals that are currently undergoing treatment.

On August 2010, the first of these cases, a case that began in May 2008 against a pimp who was accused of pedding a minor for sex in barangay Kamagayan, ended with the accused convicted of the crime.

Recently, on October 29, 2010, the first case IJM had provided legal assistance to in 2007, reached verdict and resulted in the conviction of a woman who had trafficked five women to Malaysia.

IJM said that at present, two more cases in Cebu are awaiting promulgation and several others are expected to be submitted for decision before the year ends.

As of last month, IJM lawyers were assisting in 62 active prosecutions. They reportedly anticipate more convictions in the next several years. (FREEMAN)

CEBU DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL WELFARE AND DEVELOPMENT IJM IN MARCH INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE MISSION METRO CEBU ON AUGUST PERSONS ACT PHILIPPINE ANTI-TRAFFICKING PROJECT LANTERN REPUBLIC ACT
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