Monday, December 18, 2017
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  • Balay Alternative Legal Advocates for Development in Mindanaw, Inc. (BALAOD Mindanaw)

    The Human Trafficking Awareness Initiative: Integrating the Human Rights Framework in Educating High School Students on Anti-Human Trafficking
    To increase awareness of teenage high school students on children’s rights and human trafficking
    Cagayan de Oro City and Misamis Oriental
    10,000 high school students
    July 2016 to March 2018

    As an economic center in Mindanao, Cagayan de Oro is gradually becoming a prime trafficking hotspot. The city has a well-developed harbor, an international airport and an extensive road network, making it a convenient transit and destination for trafficking in persons. The lack of awareness on human trafficking increases risks especially for children in vulnerable communities. According to the City Social Welfare and Development Office, most trafficked children end up sexually exploited in bars and cybersex dens within the city.

    USAID, through the Philippine-American Fund, supports BALAOD Mindanaw, Inc. in addressing the increasing cases of trafficking in Cagayan de Oro City. The project establishes local response networks that provides paralegal services and use the law as a tool in advancing and protecting their rights.  BALAOD also conducts information campaigns in high schools to empower students to educate their families and communities on human trafficking.

    BALAOD works with 34 public high schools in Cagayan de Oro City and neighboring municipalities in its awareness raising campaigns. These activities will increase awareness of at least 10,000 high school students on human rights and human trafficking issues.

    As of March 2017, 153 school-based campaigns were conducted in 26 national high schools reaching a total of 5,233 students (56 percent girls) and 195 teachers (78 percent women). These campaigns are designed to prevent human trafficking by increasing the knowledge of students on human rights, laws on human trafficking, forms of trafficking and child abuse.

    BALAOD also conducted paralegal training for 116 representatives (64 percent women) of civil society organizations and local government units to serve as advocates for issues on human trafficking. Trained paralegals are also tasked to refer victims to city prosecutors.

    BALAOD is working on the expansion of their project to conduct a major event in Cagayan de Oro City to draw public attention to the issue of human trafficking.