The Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO) is intensifying its campaign this year against human trafficking, child pornography, and other forms of abuse involving women and children.

In human trafficking, PSWDO chief Abigail Ablaña said Thursday that based on their record, eight women were trafficked in 2018 compared to the four cases they recorded in 2017.

She said numbers are actually down from the 20 cases that were recorded in 2015 and 100 cases in 2016.

Ablaña said the majority of the women human trafficking victims are not residents of Palawan but only use the southern municipalities as their jump off point.

“Karamihan naman ng nai-intercept ay hindi taga-rito. Ginagawa tayong daanan, jump off point ang ating mga lugar sa southern Palawan,” she said.

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Previously, the DSWD in MIMAROPA said the province recorded the highest human trafficking cases from 2015 up to the first semester of 2018.

Ernie Jarabejo, the DSWD regional field coordinator, said 52 of the victims of human trafficking were legitimate residents of the province.

Meanwhile, Ablaña said they are also intensifying their campaign against child pornography, especially now that advances in technology are fast.

She said pornography could be another form of trafficking women and children.

“Konti na po ang ating cases pero ganoon pa man, kasabay ng pag-unlad ng ating probinsya ay mas lalo pang darami ang kakaharapin nating challenges. Maaaring mayroong nakatago d’yan na pornography online, ‘yong mga ganoon. Baka nag-iba rin sila ng mukha ng pag-violate ng karapatan ng mga batang babae at kababaihan kasi nga isa ‘yan sa nakikita nating downside ng internet. Kaya patuloy ang pag-inform natin na mayron ng anti-child pornography act,” she said.

Previously, Department of Justice-Interagency Council Against Trafficking (DOJ-IACAT) also identified “Palawan as one of the most vulnerable provinces to human trafficking, commercial sex exploitation, and forced labor.”

Justice Undersecretary Emmeline Aglipay-Villar said Palawan is vulnerable to human trafficking because of the Balabac backdoor in southern Palawan that serves as an entry point to Sandakan, Malaysia.

“[Some areas are being used as backdoor exits such as] Balabac town in the southern part of Palawan and from there to Sandakan (Malaysia) or from Balabac to Mapun, Tawi-Tawi to Sandakan,” she said.

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is the chief of correspondents of Palawan News. She covers defense, politics, tourism, health, and sports stories. She loves to travel and explore different foods.