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CHR probes human trafficking and forced labour

Graphic: Traditional fish pen, Philippines

34 people approached the CHR seeking help after escaping from a fish pen where they were allegedly forced to work for 15 hours a day without pay.

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has started its own investigation into the alleged trafficking of Lumads – indigenous people from the southern Philippines – from Mindanao to Pangasinan.

In a statement, CHR spokesperson Jacquline de Guia said 34 Lumads escaped from Sual, Pangasinan, where they alleged they were forced to work at a fish pen for 15 hours a day without pay.

A group of 28 victims visited the CHR' central office to seek help.

The CHR team, together with representatives from other groups, assisted the victims to a police station in Quezon City to have their complaints recorded.

As an immediate intervention, the CHR, the National Commission on Indigenous People, the Department of Social Welfare and Development and civil society organizations provided financial and transportation assistance to the victims.

In addition, 17 Lumads recruited to work in the similar fish pen were rescued by CHR, with the help of the Philippine National Police-Sual, the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office of Pangasinan, and MSWDO-Sual. They are now currently staying in a shelter in Lingayen, Pangasinan.

The CHR noted that a similar case occurred in a fish pen in Rosario, La Union, where it was alleged that ten Lumad victims of human trafficking escaped. The Commission's field office in Region I is closely monitoring the incident.

Date: 7 July 2019

Source: Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines

Image credits

  1. Traditional fish pen, Philippines - Pagpanagat-Traditional Fishing Practices of Northern Panay, Facebook