Statement of the Commission on Human Rights commending the successful rescue operation of 4 minors from an alleged trafficking attempt at Davao Airport

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The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) commends the successful rescue operation of four minors from an alleged trafficking situation at Davao Airport. This incident only highlights the critical issue of human trafficking in the country and the need for robust measures to safeguard the rights and welfare of children.

According to reports, the victims—a 14-year-old, two 16-year-olds, and a 17-year-old—were rescued while attempting to board a flight to Manila at Davao International Airport with a companion. Their two alleged recruiters have been arrested. They would have worked as waitresses in a club. The others would be hired as helpers and paid as such.

The Commission reiterates Republic Act (RA) 9208 or the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003, as amended by RA 10364 also known as the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012 which clearly states that trafficking in persons is an illegal act and is considered a violation of human rights. Furthermore, the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, adoption, or receipt of a child for the purpose of exploitation or when the adoption is induced by any form of consideration for exploitative purposes shall also be considered as “trafficking in persons.”

We also recognise the prompt response made by the Philippine National Police (PNP) and other concerned agencies and security forces to ensure the safety of these minors. This underscores the importance of continued vigilance and cooperation among various sectors to prevent and address such crimes.

As the Children Ombud, the Commission is one with the government and all relevant stakeholders in persistently raising awareness to combat any form of trafficking in persons, particularly involving children, women, and the vulnerable sectors. As duty-bearers, we must call for heightened vigilance, stricter enforcement of anti-trafficking laws, and comprehensive support systems for victims to prevent such egregious violations and ensure the protection and promotion of human rights for all. 

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