A CRY FOR HELP: Examining the Length and Breadth of Human Trafficking

Zonta Club of Cebu II closed this year’s observance of the 18-days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence on December 12, 2021, the International Day Against Trafficking with a Webinar with the theme “A Cry for Help: Examining the Length and Breadth of Human Trafficking” designed to help everyone identify child trafficking, understand how it affects families and local communities, and learn how to help prevent its proliferation.

The webinar commenced with a presentation from Zonta Club of Cebu II member, Atty. Elaine Bathan who discussed Human Trafficking: Stories and Statistics of Modern-Day Slavery that aimed to engage and raise awareness among young people, helping them learn about the issues, root causes, extent, and forms of human trafficking. She also discussed the challenges that agencies face in the apprehension and eventual prosecution of the perpetrator.

This was followed by an engaging talk on Online Sexual Exploitation of Children (OSEC), by Atty. Therese Mina-Salomon from the International Justice Mission (IJM), the most prevalent form of human trafficking today when so much time and transactions occur online.

The webinar ended with the Country Director of Paglaum Training International (PTI), Ms. Jonna Eleccion, who shared their best practices in the rehabilitation, restoration and healing of trafficked persons.

Over 450 participants, the officers, and members of the Sangguniang Kabataan of Cebu and Mandaue cities, the local offices of DSWD, PNP and Women and Children’s Desk officers, members of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), School Heads, Guidance Counselors and faculty members, PTA Presidents, and parents from 3 public schools from both cities benefited from the discussions. Only by joining forces, pooling knowledge, expanding the scope and number of stakeholders and cooperating across borders can we hope to eradicate human trafficking.