Natural Disasters and Human Trafficking

Image source: Flickr

After spikes of human trafficking were seen after other disasters like the 2010 Haitian earthquake and massive flooding in Pakistan, US officials are warning that there could be an increase in human trafficking in the Philippines in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda. 

Previous cases suggest that women and children are particularly vulnerable to traffickers after natural disasters, and in its 2010 Trafficking In Persons Report (p.35) the US State Department includes a list of considerations officials should take into account when responding to natural disasters and their resultant increased risk of human trafficking. Because disasters often affect the most at risk population sectors, human trafficking preventive efforts must play a part in emergency relief efforts from the beginning.

Fortunately, the Philippine government is taking a proactive stance and is assembling a task force ready to protect typhoon survivors. Further, the government-funded Philippines Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) is working to protect victims and prevent trafficking activities. From ABS-CBN News:
“[A]mid the devastation caused by the earthquake in Central Visayas and Typhoon Yolanda, an IACAT Task Force is putting in place all necessary coordination mechanisms and protocols to further bolster the existing anti-human trafficking strategies in view of the heightened vulnerability of survivors from the affected areas.”
Gulf News has more information.

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