To improve referral pathway and coordination among service providers and LGUs at different levels and establish and manage Help Desks in seaports towards the goal of combatting trafficking in persons and adequately protect children and young women and men from all forms violence and exploitation, maritime agencies and other port stakeholders underwent a two-day training on Gender Responsive Helpdesk Management, spearheaded by Balay Mindanaw Foundation Inc. (BMFI) in close partnership with the Port Management Office of Misamis Oriental/Cagayan de Oro.

The training is part of the three-year project, the “Collaborative Action Against Trafficking” of Plan International, an independent development and humanitarian organization, which is co-implemented by BMFI. This project aims to strengthen the capacity and protection mechanism of partner agencies, communities, and the civil society to protect children and young men and women against any form of abuse, neglect, exploitation, and violence. It focuses on three (3) key strategic interventions: Prevention Actions and Early Interventions, and Protection and Psychosocial Recovery.

The two-day training held on 06-07 June 2019 at the PMO MOC Building 2 GAD Hall, had five (5) sessions with respective resource speakers from the Department of Justice –Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) and Regional Anti-Trafficking Task Force XI (RATTF), PNP Women and Children Protection Center-Mindanao Field Unit, and from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)-Region 10.

The training kicked-off with levelling off and expectation check among participants which then followed by a review on Basic Gender Orientation. The national/local situationer including statistics of human trafficking cases from CY 2015 to 2018 was presented from which Cagayan de Oro, Bukidnon, and Iligan City were identified as the top three (3) places with high recorded incidence of trafficking in persons. This was followed by the discussion of the laws and policies related to trafficking in persons (RA 9208 and 10364) and an open forum with the Assistant City Prosecutor, Rey P. Inciong of DOJ-IACAT. During the open forum, queries and clarifications on the legal procedures, proper handling of intercepted trafficking, and appropriate agencies to handle referrals were addressed, among other concerns.

To further equip the participants with the appropriate knowledge, attitude, and skills against human trafficking along with detection and monitoring, the PNP Women and Children Protection Center discussed the modus operandi and the dynamics of victimization. The said lecture was paired with a short simulation exercise. After which, a lecture and inter-active discussion was given by DSWD-10 about the management and referral of cases of sexual abuse and exploitation of children. Lastly, the participants were able to produce several proposals from their action planning session that ultimately concerned policy making and implementation.

The BMFI relayed that they will conduct a separate training for other port service providers such as the porters and vendors. —IMR Lam