Marked Rise in Cases Involving of Filipinos,&Says Diplomat

DUBAI — In the past two years, there has been a marked increase in human trafficking cases, involving Filipinos, to the UAE, according to Philippine Consul-General in Dubai Benito B. Valeriano.

By Lily B. Libo-on & Amira Agarib

Published: Sun 13 Dec 2009, 11:33 PM

Last updated: Wed 8 Apr 2015, 1:22 PM

He said the cases were reported by his office to the Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs  (OUMWA) in the Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila, after he assumed office in 2007.

The actual cases, however, will be conveyed to the UAE authorities after Manila completes its investigation and the human traffickers are identified.

He said there was close coordination among task forces from the Departments of Justice, Foreign Affairs, Labour and Employment because of the high number of victims and the frequency of reports from the Philippine diplomatic missions in the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Saudi Arabia .

“Even the diplomatic missions in Beirut, Amman, Damascus and Tel Aviv have the same problem of Filipino women being trafficked everyday,” said Valeriano.

“Coordinated efforts of all these &task forces from the three government departments have to… (understand) the modus operandi of the human traffickers and go for preventive measures by instituting more rigid measure &from the source in Manila and then in the areas where they are brought.”

Valeriano said once trafficked people are rescued by the diplomatic missions with the help of the local authorities in the host countries and the victims themselves, the task forces must act swiftly to get them as witnesses because without witnesses, it would be difficult to prosecute the culprits and those identified by the victims.

The task forces would then enforce restrictions, which are not aimed at preventing people from travelling, but stricter screening of travellers, &he stated.

He said in the case of human trafficking to Dubai and in other cities aroiund the world, 99 per cent were bound for the flesh trade, and this is a vicious cycle which needs vigilance in both the home office of the task forces and overseas.  In response to this problem, Philippine Justice Secretary Agnes VST Devanadera communicated &with Consul-General Valeriano to assist the women prosecutors in their task to know first-hand from the &victims how they were brought to the UAE and other relevant information needed in filing cases against the &erring agencies and human &traffickers.

According to Col. Abdul Rehim bin Shafi, Director of Anti-Organised Crimes, Dubai Police, two senior officials have been assigned to deal with diplomatic and consular affairs and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued a circular to all the diplomatic missions in the UAE to deal with them if they have any issues or cases.

He urged the missions concerned to cooperate with the police in bringing criminals to justice. By not keeping the authorities informed would not benefit anti-human trafficking efforts.

Col. Shafi said that when diplomatic missions take the decision to help a human trafficking victim to travel without informing the local authorities, they are dealing with the case emotionally without thinking logically.

“We have legisation, police and experts who can investigate and we can provide all help and support to the victims,” he pointed out.

He said the Philippine consulate had referred many cases to the police and some of them were found to be genuine. One Filipino suspect involved in human trafficking was even sentenced to five years.

Col Shafi added that many cases were referred to courts and some of the human traffickers were sentenced to 10 years in jail.

Captain Ahmad Obaid bin Hadibah from Anti human Trafficking Section of CID, said that from January to October this year, only 20 cases of human trafficking were recorded in Dubai, and only three victims were from the Philippines.

He said that the Philippine consulate is usually in touch with the police and refers cases if they have any.

On receving information, the police take necessary action and refer the matter to relevant authorities for investigation and support to victims.

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