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 OUMWA21 March 2015 – Philippine Ambassadors in Europe led Foreign Service Officers (FSOs) and Assistance-to-Nationals (ATN) officers from the 21 Foreign Service Posts (FSPs) in a pledge of commitment to work towards the elimination and prevention of human trafficking at the closing of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Regional Workshop on Trafficking in Persons, held from March 16 to 20 in Vienna, Austria.

The five-day Workshop focused on providing the participants with greater understanding on the basic concept of trafficking in persons, the international and Philippine legal frameworks in combating human trafficking, proper victim identification and psychosocial counseling, and the link between gender and trafficking. Issues on trafficking in Diplomatic and Consular households, illegal recruitment, human smuggling, and the use of fraudulent documents in trafficking were likewise discussed.

The participants benefited from the experiences and expertise of the invited resource speakers from various government agencies and international organizations, including the Department of Justice (DOJ), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and the Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe (OSCE). Representatives from the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the US Embassy in Vienna also joined as panelists to speak regarding their respective countries' practices in facing the global challenge of human trafficking.

This is the fourth and final Regional Workshop for FSPs organized by the DFA, spearheaded by the office of DFA Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs Jesus I. Yabes, in partnership with the UNODC. The Philippine Embassy in Vienna, led by Chargé d'Affaires Sulpicio Confiado, likewise supported the Workshop. DFA Undersecretary for Administration Linglingay Lacanlale joined the participants to convey personnel and logistical support to their renewed commitment to combat trafficking in persons.

"With the Regional Workshops, we hope that our frontline personnel would be better capacitated to protect our overseas Filipinos from the scourge of trafficking," said Undersecretary Yabes. END