Tell-tale signs of human trafficking

MANILA, Philippines—There are ways to spot a human trafficker.

Director Ma. Regina Angela Galias of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) gave some tips on this when interviewed on state-run Radyo ng Bayan.

According to Galias, syndicates involved in human trafficking conducts house-to-house recruitment in provinces, using people known to the prospective victim–usually a friend, or even a relative.

Galias said that the law requires that all transactions be conducted in the office of the recruiter. At the same time, the agreement between the recruiter and applicant must be contained in a signed binding contract that clearly stipulates the job offered. Applicants should also make sure their employment papers indicate a job order and check if their recruitment agency is licensed under the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).

The Anti-Mail Order Bride Law also prohibits anyone from acting as matchmaker for a Filipina and a foreigner for them to get married, especially if it involves trading of money or goods for that purpose.

“For instance, somebody you know says he knows a foreigner who wants to marry a Filipina and asks if you are interested. That is already a violation of RA6955 (or the Anti-Mail Order Bride Law),” Galias said.

Galias said that CFO has received many reports of domestic violence of instant marriages among Filipinas overseas. “Perhaps, this is due to the fact that the victims often lack the material time to get to know their partners well enough. Unfortunately, oftentimes, their partners usually turn out to be violent and abuse them,” Galias said.

Galias aslo cautioned Filipinas in divulging personal information in social networking sites on the internet. She said that mere registration or signing up to become a member of dating websites “is already a violation of the mail-order bride law because it is bordering on human trafficking.”

She added, “We should not sell our fellow Filipino or Filipina in exchange of any price.”

Galias also warned the youth against posting photos in said social networking sites, including the popular Facebook. “It is so easy to grab pictures on Facebook, and somebody else can post it on the net and claim it as their own. It is best to protect yourself by being cautious in your profile settings and to heighten the security features of your page,” Galias said.

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