Monday, December 18, 2017
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  • Fellowship for Organizing Endeavors, Inc. (FORGE)

    Anti-Child Trafficking at Source Communities in Cebu Province (ACT@Source)
    To strengthen anti-trafficking initiatives by mobilizing communities for trafficking prevention and strengthening community response mechanisms
    Cebu Province
    49,000 community residents; 280 members of local councils against trafficking
    July 2016 to March 2018

    The 2015 Trafficking in Persons Report of the U.S. Department of State has identified Cebu as one of the leading destinations for human trafficking victims of sexual exploitation and other forms of modern slavery. Cebu was also tagged as a pedophilia hotspot where the highest rate of child sex tourism in the country was recorded.  Recruiting teenage girls from poor areas in the city, as well as in remote islands in the province continues to be rampant.  The number of traffickers trading and pimping children for cybersex and prostitution quickly increased in various transit areas around the province such as island resorts, ports and bus terminals.

    USAID, through the Philippine-American Fund, supports the Fellowship for Organizing Endeavors, Inc. (FORGE) in strengthening anti-trafficking in persons (ATIP) advocacies in different source communities by mobilizing them as first-line responders and prevention officers. FORGE accomplishes this goal by partnering with barangay-level front liners, as well as women and youth organizations, transport, tourism and other community-based groups.

    FORGE, through the Regional Inter-Agency Council on Anti-Trafficking (RIACAT), strengthens coordination of duty bearers to improve victim referral systems and trafficking cases management. FORGE also works with local governments for the passage of policies to counter trafficking.

    FORGE operates the Teen Dreamers’ Home (TDHome), a safe haven for youth and children survivors. TDHome is a residential care facility for commercially sexually exploited children (CSEC) who voluntarily sought help to free themselves from abusive situations.

    Baseline assessment was conducted in eight target barangays. Results showed a large number of unreported child abuse cases in the province which were mostly due to poverty and the growing tourism industry. Area profiling was also conducted to determine trafficking hotspots and its vulnerability as possible source, transit point and destination of trafficked victims.  

    Supplementary psycho-social intervention was provided to 25 girls in the TDHome. Study sessions focused on self-reflection, strengthening group relationships and peer support during personal crisis. Other avenues utilized for expressing emotional release include art therapy classes and facilitated parent-child encounter activities.

    TDHome staff were also trained in case management to improve skills in case work and development of treatment plans.

    Awareness-building activities reached a total of 332 individuals (72 percent female). Individuals were enrolled in modular sessions to serve as watchdogs and frontline responders against trafficking cases. These sessions informed participants on the different forms of trafficking, vulnerabilities to trafficking and how to report possible cases to authorities.

    Succeeding sessions will focus on organizing volunteer groups and working with local government units for sustainability of ATIP interventions.

    FORGE is now working on the expansion of their project to include the formulation of policies and procedures, as well as the procurement of required equipment for a shelter dedicated to male trafficking victims in Cebu.