Vice President Jejomar Binay said on Thursday that the fight against human trafficking must begin with strengthening the Filipino family, which he dubbed as the “frontline defense mechanism against human trafficking.
“For the needs of the family are what drive the victims into the arms of human traffickers,” Binay, chairman emeritus of the Inter Agency Council Against Trafficking (Iacat), told participants of the Seminar/Workshop on Human Trafficking organized by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).
Binay also deplored the fact that because of financial difficulties, some families abet the trafficking of its own members.
He cited the case of the families in Ibabao, Cebu that forced their children to perform sexual acts on the Internet for pedophiles from all over the world.
“That is the biggest tragedy of the human trafficking problem. When the very primary defense against the malaise actually abets it,” said Binay.
The Vice President then urged the CBCP to discuss how to strengthen the institution of the family.
According to Binay, the parishes and parish priests across the country are “the natural havens for the Filipino family wherein they may reconnect with God and their basic humanity.”
“And that it is, to provide a bridge for the family between its spiritual and material needs, and to strengthen its resolve to deter its members from taking that perilous leap for material gain at all costs, even at the expense of the member’s human rights, his or her honor and dignity,” he added.
“And this is where the fundamental and ultimate fight against human trafficking must be fought.”
Binay also laid out possible solutions to the inter-connected issues of poverty and human trafficking in the country.
He said that on a national scale, “our investment promotion agenda must now have a clear bias for inclusive growth.”
This includes promoting new investments in rural areas and investing in the agricultural sector without neglecting the other booming sectors of the economy.
He added that on a micro-level, community-based economic growth should be encouraged by expanding the choice of people from outside-the-community job opportunities to include community-based livelihood choices, like agriculture processing, and trading.