Economic and social empowerment of returned victims of trafficking in Thailand and Philippines

Economic and Social Empowerment of Returned Victims of Trafficking in the Philippines and Thailand: The Philippine Component

The project aimed to contribute to the reduction of trafficking in children and women for sexual and labour exploitation in Asia, through support to a humane reintegration process of returned trafficked victims back to their countries of origin.

The Philippines is one of the countries in Southeast Asia that is facing serious problems of trafficking in persons. Many Filipino women and girls are lured to the promise of overseas employment, but end up in exploitative situations like prostitution, pornography, other sexual exploitation and forced or bonded labour. National laws and measures to prevent this situation from continuing and to protect the rights of trafficked persons have been made. However, the return and reintegration process, among the stages of migration and trafficking, has remained the least concern of policy and programme interventions, or if so, has been improperly attended to.

Many victims of trafficking face a myriad of problems upon return. Aside from the trauma and stigma, victims of trafficking have to endure and cope with reintegration problems with their families and communities. They experience rejection by their families who have hoped better living conditions through their remittances. More often than not, however, victims of trafficking come home empty-handed, with inadequate savings, or heavily indebted. Much as they want to work in their countries of origin, they possess inadequate skills or lack qualifications, aside from the scarce local job opportunities. The absence or inappropriateness of reintegration services contribute to the problem, making trafficked persons vulnerable to re-trafficking.

Given this situation, and in the light of recent migration policy and law enforcement changes in many destination countries in Asia which was seen to result in more repatriation, the International Labour Organization (ILO), with funding from the Government of Japan through the UN Trust Fund for Human Security, implemented a regional project to support a humane reintegration process of returned Thai and Filipino trafficked victims back to their countries of origin. The project emphasized the long-term economic and social empowerment and the provision of core social services to trafficked persons.

For further information please contact:

ILO Country Office for the Philippines (CO-Manila)
19th Floor, Yuchengco Tower
RCBC Plaza, 6819 Ayala Avenue
1200 Makati City, Philippines
Tel. +632 8580 9900
Fax +632 8856 7597