VP Binay meeting key U.S. leaders on human trafficking, abuse of Filipino labor

February 4, 2011 12:28 pm 

By Gloria Jane Baylon

MANILA, Feb. 3 — Vice President and concurrent Presidential Adviser on Overseas Filipino Workers’ (OFW) Concerns Jejomar C. Binay continues his campaign against human trafficking in the U.S. capital, meeting key sectoral leaders and politicians during a week-long visit to Washington, D.C.

Binay also met with Filipino community leaders, assuring them during a dinner engagement that the Philippine government is closely working with the U.S. Department of State, Department of Justice and Department of Labor in ensuring a successful campaign against the man-made plague.

“I have always maintained that our overseas Filipinos deserve the full attention of the Philippine government, particularly the agencies tasked to protect their welfare. We take the responsibility of ensuring the well-being of all our OFWs seriously,” he told them.

The Vice President is scheduled to meet with Ambassador Luis CdeBaca, head of the U.S. State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, where joint efforts to fight human trafficking will be discussed. The date and time have not been disclosed.

Binay said that the Philippine government is committed to put in place needed government reforms and policies to add teeth to the anti-human trafficking drive.

He noted that the Philippine labor migration management system is considered as the model among labor-source countries.

“We have an established system for licensing and regulation of persons and entities engaged in the recruitment and deployment of Filipino workers. We also have a program for assisting OFWs prior to and during employment, and upon return to the Philippines,” he said.

"There is definitely room for improvement and we welcome assistance from the U.S. government in this matter," he added.

Some 35 victims of human trafficking and labor abuse are currently being assisted by the Philippine embassy in Washington, D.C., non-governmental groups and a Filipino-American immigration lawyer.

Binay was informed by the embassy and the American Federation of Teachers that both are closely monitoring the development of the civil suit and labor cases filed by 350 Filipino teachers in Louisiana against their Philippine and U.S. recruiters, members of the school board, and the law firm that facilitated the processing of their visas.

Binay left Manila on January 30. (PNA)

DCT/scs/GJB

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