Countries around the world joined hands in the Philippines on Monday to fight human trafficking.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima credited governments that convened for the First International Dialogue on Human Trafficking for the signing of the Manila Declaration to Enhance International Cooperation in Combating Human Trafficking.
About 100 conference delegates from 19 different embassies in the Philippines, 11 non-government organizations (NGOs) and 15 government agencies joined the forum.
De Lima praised the participants “for refusing to look away and instead identifying more decisive steps to combat this global menace.”
“When those who can do something to stop human trafficking look away, the dreams of the victims of this crime die,” she said.
De Lima noted that Filipinos who fall prey to human trafficking syndicates are vulnerable because they are willingto pursue their dreams at whatever cost.
The event was organized by the Philippine Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) in partnership with the Embassy of the Kingdom of The Netherlands.
According to Justice Undersecretary Jose Vicente Salazar, in-charge of IACAT, the mandate of all governments involved in fighting human trafficking must be recognized.
“This international dialogue is a key element in moving forward in our drive against human trafficking as it seeks to integrate all the efforts of the international community into a cohesive approach in ending modern-day slavery,” Salazar said.
The Manila Declaration recognized that there is an urgent need for a comprehensive international approach to prevent and combat human trafficking.
Also, the delegates agreed that an effective international approach against human trafficking requires innovative actions in the face of changing schemes of perpetrators, along with continued dialogue, exchange of information through sanctioned channels and cooperation among stakeholders.