The Philippines has passed a new bill aimed at educating youth about human trafficking. It will cover all students in junior high schools, senior high schools, colleges and universities, and technical or vocational education programs.
House Committees on Basic Education and Culture and on Higher and Technical Education together passed House Bill 4890, also known as the “Human Trafficking Preventive Education Program Act.” It was sponsored by AKO Bicol Reps. Rodel Batocabe, Alfredo Garbin Jr., and Christopher Co.
The sponsors said that this bill is needed because the Philippines has “2.2 million child laborers between the ages 15 and 17, many of whom are engaged in hazardous unskilled working environments.”
The Manila Bulletin reports:
HB 4890 mandates the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) to facilitate the establishment of the program to educate the youth about their fundamental rights concerning labor and employment, liberty, human security, and other essential rights.
The program is also expected to orient the youth about the dangers of international and domestic human trafficking in their various forms such as illegal recruitment, unfair labor practices, involuntary servitude, sexual exploitation and prostitution, and child labor.
Under the bill, the youth who have been or are currently victims of human trafficking will be referred to the proper agency or organization for protection and rehabilitation.
The council will implement the school-based program in cooperation with the Department of Education (DepEd), the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).
Under HB4890, principals, university presidents, or technical school heads will be in charge of implementing the program.
They will be responsible for training guidance counselors of social workers on identifying and helping human trafficking victims and at-risk out of school youth. Schools officials will set up reporting mechanisms that allow residents of barangay, or neighborhoods, to report suspected cases as well.