The Philippine Embassy in Singapore reports on unabated trafficking of Filipinas to Singapore.
The Philippine embassy said the trafficking of Filipinas in Singapore "continues unabated."
The embassy’s admission came six month after INQUIRER.net first reported the sharp increase in the incident of the transnational crime in the island-state.
In the report it submitted to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) dated April 28, the Philippine embassy in Singapore reiterated its warning about the dangers of human trafficking.
The warning came in the wake of meetings between the Philippine embassy, Ambassador Steven Steiner of the United States Department of State's Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, and officials from the Philippine Presidential Task Force on Human Trafficking, who went to Singapore to assess the situation there.
In November 2007, INQUIRER.net posted a special report on the growing number of young Filipino women being lured to Singapore on the false promise of a high-paying job only to end up in prostitution.
The increased incidence of trafficking of Asian women, including Filipinas, to Singapore prompted the United States State Department to downgrade the city-state's rating from Tier 1 in 2006 to Tier 2 this year.
Philippine Ambassador to Singapore Belen Fule-Anota said Filipinas who want to work overseas must scrutinize their recruiters in the Philippines well and ensure they have valid contracts before leaving the country.
She also advised jobseekers to have their contracts duly verified by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) "before packing their bags for Singapore."
"They should not allow themselves to be deceived by the sweet tongue and false promises made by sex and labor traffickers because once they reach Singapore, they become more vulnerable to intimidation, deception, and exploitation," added the ambassador, who has served in the city-state for four years.
Steiner, who visited the Philippine embassy on the sidelines of a meeting in Singapore, acknowledged the ongoing bilateral cooperation between the two countries and the progress being made by the Philippines in fighting trafficking in persons.
He exchanged notes with embassy officials and discussed possible areas for strengthening bilateral cooperation.
In a separate meeting with the two-person team of the Presidential Task Force, the embassy proposed the improvement of inter-agency cooperation, particularly in the areas of rehabilitation, re-integration, and witness protection for the victims, and the prosecution of traffickers.
In a report submitted to the DFA early this year, the embassy in Singapore noted "an alarming increase" of 70 percent in human trafficking cases from 125 in 2006 to 212 in 2007. There were only 59 recorded cases in 2005.
Of the 212 human trafficking victims in 2007, a total of 57, or 27 percent, admitted to either having engaged in prostitution or being coerced by their Filipino and Singaporean handlers to prostitute themselves. Of the 57 victims, 39 were pub workers, 15 worked in escort service, while three were pick-up girls.
The embassy culled data from individual interviews, recorded statements, and affidavits of victims who reported to the embassy in 2007. The number is believed understated.
The Philippines considers trafficking in persons a serious transnational crime and human security issue requiring close international cooperation, particularly between the source and destination countries.
"Victims are considered as trafficked if they have been deceived, coerced or subjected to conditions of exploitation as defined by Republic Act 9208, a Philippine law otherwise known as the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003," the embassy said in a statement.
It said the Philippine definition of trafficking in persons is consistent with the definition in the United Nations Convention Against Organized Transnational Crime and its two protocols, all of which had been signed and ratified by the Philippines.
Adapted from: Veronica Uy, "Trafficking of Filipinas in Singapore."
globalnation.inquirer.net 22 April 2008
Search the entirety of the site for resources or updates.