#minorsextrafficking | Marcos thanks Australia for backing PH work plan against human trafficking

MANILA, Philippines — President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Saturday thanked Australia for supporting the implementation of the Philippines’ work plan in a bid to stem human trafficking across the Asean region.

This refers to the Bohol Trafficking in Persons work plan, which is being proposed to be implemented in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Convention on Trafficking in Persons Especially Women and Children.

“This partnership will strengthen our regional responses and keep us in step with the constantly evolving schemes of transnational criminals and traffickers,” President Marcos said in his intervention during the second Asean-Australia Summit in Phnom Penh.

This comes as the Philippine court recently meted a 129-year sentence against Australian Peter Gerard Scully.

READ: Aussie child sex offender to spend 129 years in jail

Scully, 59, along with three locals, was accused of qualified trafficking in persons, syndicated child pornography, child abuse, rape, and photo and video voyeurism, victimizing seven girls, with one as young as 18 months.

East Asia and the Pacific — which Southeast Asia is a part of — is one of the hotbeds of human and child trafficking in the world, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime 2016 report.

“Most victims in East Asia and the Pacific were trafficked for sexual exploitation,” according to the UN study.

The UN study revealed that 61 percent of trafficking in the region is for sexual exploitation, 32 percent for forced labor, and seven percent for other purposes.

Food, national security

Marcos also welcomed the engagement with Australia on the implementation of the Strategic Plan for Asean Cooperation in Food, Agriculture, and Forestry for 2016 – 2025.

“Food-resilience and food self-sufficiency are two of our very basic and foremost priorities in the Philippines.

“We need to protect the region and our countries from shocks on the global food value chain, as well as against the adverse effects of climate change,” he said.

Furthermore, the Chief Executive welcomed the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad)’s “assurance of unwavering support” for Asean unity and centrality.

Quad refers to the strategic security dialogue between Australia, India, Japan, and the United States.

“It is in line with the view that such mini-lateral mechanisms should complement the Asean-centered regional security architecture,” Marcos also said.

READ: Philippines welcomes Tier 1 status in battling human trafficking

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