/ 31 July 2021

WITH the declaration of another lockdown, Gabriela Women’s Partylist Rep. Arlene Brosas on Friday called on the government to prioritize the safety of children and women because quarantine restrictions also limit the chances of victims to seek help.

Brosas said that the stringent lockdown that was imposed last year to curb the spread of Covid19 led to a surge in cases of online sex trafficking and exploitation of children.

Malacañang on Friday said that Metro Manila will be placed under Enhanced Community Quarantine from August 6 to 20.

“We must all stand together and strengthen our calls to end abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against women and children,” Brosas said.

She issued the call as the country marked World Day Against Trafficking in Persons.

This year’s theme puts victims of human trafficking at the center of the campaign.

Brosas said that a threefold increase in the number of OSAEC was recorded from March to May 2020, the height of the enhanced community quarantine. During this time, 279,166 cyber tips were received by the Department of Justice’s Office of Cybercrime.

“This is a 264.63 percent increase compared to 76,561 documented cyber tips in the same period last 2019. Extreme poverty, crisis, and hunger are the reasons why people engage in this kind of act,” the lawmaker said.

“The lack of government aid, access to basic social services, and culture of impunity have made women and children even more vulnerable to abuse and exploitation,” she explained.

Brosas reiterated the need for a comprehensive review of Republic Act 10364 or the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act to determine if the government is doing its job in protecting citizens.