By Benjamin Pulta

(File photo)

MANILA – The government is eyeing more link-ups with other countries as part of its approach to resolve issues on transnational crimes, particularly human trafficking, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said Monday.

Speaking during the Bagong Pilipinas Ngayon program, Justice Undersecretary Mico Clavano said the previous year has uncovered the nefarious nature of Philippine Overseas Gaming Operations (POGOs) and the transnational nature of human trafficking and its inter-relation with other crimes.

“Itong POGO crimes ay napakalawak and what we realized in 2023 was that talagang may international aspect po ito. ‘Yung POGO may kasamang human trafficking, may kasamang drugs, may kasamang sex trafficking, may kasamang korupsyon at hindi lang lahat nangyayari dito sa Pilipinas (We realized how widespread Pogo crimes are in 2023 and that they have an international aspect to it. It is related to human trafficking, sex trafficking, and corruption. And these crimes do not only happen in the Philippines),” he said.

“Kapag binanggit natin ang trafficking, ang ibig sabihin n’yan ‘yung elemento ng krimen nahahanap sa iba’t ibang bansa. Yung mga trabaho at employers nanggaling sa iba’t ibang bansa rin (When we talk about trafficking, the elements of the crime can be found in other countries. Even the jobs and employers come from other countries,” he added.

That is why for 2024, the DOJ said it plans to strengthen ties with international partners and conduct more dialogues, which it said would give the Philippines a variety of perspectives and approaches to face these crimes.

“For 2024, the government’s plan is to improve cooperation and collaboration. We do this by conducting dialogues. We have what we call the Manila International Dialogue on Human Trafficking,” he said.

“Kailangan natin lumabas ng bansa para mahuli ‘yung talagang nasa likod ng mga krimen na ito. So in 2024, ang kailangan natin gawin ay mag-cooperate, collaborate sa iba’t ibang mga bansa kung saan may elemento ng krimen para mahuli talaga ‘yung kabuuan ng sindikato at hindi lang ‘yung iilan maliliit lang na tao doon sa pinakagrupo nila (We need to get out of the country to catch the people behind these crimes. In 2024, we need to cooperate, collaborate with other countries where the elements of the crime are present, so that we can catch the syndicates behind these, and not only the small fry),” he added.

Clavano stressed the international nature of human trafficking, which he said even affects developed countries like the United States and Australia. (PNA)