Nov 6, 2011

FILIPINO YOUTH PLEDGES TO FIGHT HUMAN TRAFFICKING


The Movement of Anti Trafficking Advocates (MATA) and the Visayan Forum in partnership with MTV EXIT (End Exploitation and Trafficking) hosted a National Youth Summit where young people and representatives of voluntary youth sector came together to discuss the key issue of Human Trafficking on its impact facing young people nowadays  held at the Ateneo de Manila University last October 24 to 25, 2011.

the participants of the youth forum with their artworks--Pledge of Commitments 
Through the support given by the USAID, AustralianAID and organized in partnership with Dakila (Philippine Collective for Modern Heroism) and the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking, the Summit aimed to provide in-depth trafficking education, mapping and assessment of current efforts,transformational leadership, and networking and collaboration among the different youth groups.It was also geared to uplift collaborative effort  working across all service providers to young people, unlock potential for new partnerships, and draw on frontline expertise to develop a new shared vision for young people on the issue of human trafficking. 

A number of Government departments and civil society organizations were involved in the Summit - demonstrating a positive commitment to join up significant  agendas for young people in light of the advocacy to fight human trafficking. Those in attendance included: MTV  EXIT Campaign Director Matt Love, Visayan Forum Deputy Executive Director Roland Pacis, US Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Hon. Leslie A. Bassett, and Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Rod Smith. Keynote Address was delivered by Sec. Leila de Lima of the Department of Justice,the Designated Chair of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT)  in her keynote speech, she pointed out the significant role of the youth to combat the social ills and injustices brought by trafficking and urged them to make valuable contributions to eradicate human trafficking in the Philippines.

Over 100 delegates from a range of local and national organizations of young people coming from across the country attended the Summit. They had an active role at the event including breakout  sessions  within which they shared their organizations’ current efforts and discussions on challenges in mainstreaming the youth in the need for greater collaboration and closer attention of adapting good practices to support each other in addressing the issue of human trafficking. At the end of the 2 day summit,  youth leaders made concrete agreements to work bilaterally in the short to medium term to establish regional chapter of MATA( Movement of Anti Trafficking Advocates)  in each region and drawing upon a pool youth led programs and initiatives to spread awareness and campaign about trafficking and galvanize a national youth movement to combat human trafficking in the Philippines.
Speaking about the event, US Embassy  Deputy Chief of Mission Leslie A Basset said:
I am so pleased to see this gathering of youth leaders from all over the Philippines.  You represent a growing, national Movement of Anti-Trafficking Advocates.  The convening of the members of the Movement Against Trafficking Advocates  is a testament to the commitment of the Filipino youth to fight trafficking across the entire country.  We all must join hands to fight this form of modern day slavery. We believe that the power to turn the tide against human trafficking is in your hands. 


John Lee Guira , a delegate of the summit coming from Luzon said: The biggest thing I learned from the Summit was all of the opportunities and options I have as a Filipino youth, and the many different channels where  I could turn my passion to strengthen my advocacy to fight human trafficking. There are many other young people who are out there ready to take action with me.

The  summit ended with a networking, action plan session, and a solidarity night for all participants together with the organizers to put across each other's vows of commitment to join the cause against human trafficking.

By:
Mohammad Jamalul J. Giducos
Alumnus, National Youth Summit
Movement of Anti Trafficking Advocates-Mindanao Region