DoT to require firms to train staff in identifying exploited women, kids

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Tourists visit the monument of National Hero Dr. Jose P. Rizal. -- BW FILE PHOTO

THE DEPARTMENT of Tourism (DoT) said tourism establishments need to train their front-line personnel to detect the abuse of women and children as a precondition for DoT accreditation.

The DoT on Tuesday launched its Tourism Integrates, Supports and Minds Women’s Respect and Child Safety (TouriSM WorCS) program in partnership with other government agencies.

“We believe that each and every stakeholder in tourism has a role to play in the fight against women and child abuse and sexual exploitation. As long as this problem of modern-day slavery is around, the DoT will continue to rally its forces to combat this,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said during the program’s launch.

The program will seek to train customer-facing personnel such as tour guides and hotel workers.

“Before we accredit (establishments), kailangan i-train sila (they need to be trained) regarding this. I don’t think any establishment will go against that,” she said.

The DoT reported earlier this week that in the six months to June, the Philippines had 4.13 million international visitor arrivals, just ahead of the pace on its 2019 target of 8.2 million and up 11.43% year-on-year.

Department of Justice Assistant Secretary George O. Ortha II said the increase in tourist volumes adds to the risk of human trafficking.

“We are aware of tourist destinations becoming hotspots for human trafficking, particularly sexual exploitation,” he said during the launch.

Mr. Ortha said that the DoJ will be establishing a “one-stop shop” in Manila which will cater the needs of trafficking victims. — Gillian M. Cortez