News / Asia

Agencies in Philippines Work to Prevent Victim Exploitation

Children around a makeshift shelter beside a message on a board, next to a Christmas tree on a street in Basay, Samar province, Nov. 28, 2013.
Children around a makeshift shelter beside a message on a board, next to a Christmas tree on a street in Basay, Samar province, Nov. 28, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
Simone Orendain
— With thousands of people leaving the typhoon-affected central Philippines, social service agencies are being vigilant against exploitation and human trafficking of some of the most vulnerable survivors.

A social worker calls out logistics for food delivery to recent arrivals at the Villamor Air Base grandstand. After eating a meal, this fresh batch of evacuees will register with the Social Welfare and Development department.

The department is seeing to their immediate basic needs and tracking whether they have family in the area. Social Welfare Specialist Foilan Maglaya said the department is also keeping an eye out for any attempts by people to take advantage of the typhoon survivors.

“We have to ensure that the children with the family, is their real child because we want to prevent human trafficking, child trafficking. We don’t want women to end up with traffickers,” Maglaya said.

Social welfare officials said so far, they have not had any such cases in their assessments. But they said every day people approach to see if they could hire domestic helpers from among the evacuees.

“We just discouraged them because right now being household help is not the most appropriate employment for the survivors because they need to be debriefed. They need to be attended to psychologically because they went through so much trauma. So they need to be well before they can be employed again." said Doan Foronda, social welfare officer.

The evacuees who arrive in Villamor come on C130 planes that depart from Tacloban, the city that took the worst of Typhoon Haiyan’s wrath. Tacloban and nearby coastal towns in Leyte province experienced a massive storm surge that caused a tsunami-like effect, killing some thousands of people. In nearby Samar province, towns were almost completely obliterated by Haiyan’s powerful winds.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is checking with local officials in the worst hit cities for reports of children left alone. UNICEF Manila Child Protection chief Sarah Norton-Staal says there are some reports of orphaned children, but authorities are still working to estimate their number.

Norton-Staal said in past disasters, such as Typhoon Bopha last year, they have seen a 10 percent spike in child trafficking.

“It’s really just because of the destruction of local services. The local capacity to handle these cases is diminished and people’s livelihoods put them at greater risk and vulnerability for trafficking,” she explained.

She said UNICEF is training local government officials and other social workers how to help families reunite through a mobile device registration system for children. Norton-Staal said there is significant awareness of the potential for trafficking and the training which started this week has been heavily attended.

Maglaya of the Social Welfare department said at the air base messages in the local dialect are being broadcast regularly to remind survivors to keep a lookout for possible exploitation.

You May Like

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

46 people are confirmed dead, but some 250 remain trapped inside sunken ferry More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid