Partnership in Pampanga Means Better Care for Sex Trafficking Survivors

DSWD Regional Director Adelina Apostol and IJM Senior Vice President of Field Operations Sean Litton signed an agreement to formalize how the two agencies will work together to rescue and restore sex trafficking survivors.
DSWD Regional Director Adelina Apostol and IJM Senior Vice President of Field Operations Sean Litton signed an agreement to formalize how the two agencies will work together to rescue and restore sex trafficking survivors.

PAMPANGA, THE PHILIPPINES – In the Philippines, IJM works closely with the government's Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to ensure sex trafficking survivors get the post-traumatic care and long-term support they need to be restored. On August 1, 2013, IJM Pampanga—IJM's newest office in the Philippines, established just last year—signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the regional branch of the DSWD.

DSWD Regional Director Adelina Apostol said strong partners are critical in the fight against sex trafficking, and she noted that good social workers are critical for the survivors. "We cannot do it without our partners," Apostol said, adding "our partnership will continue to be strong with IJM." Apostol signed the agreement on behalf of DSWD, and in her remarks she acknowledged that an uptick in recent rescues has created a massive burden for the social workers. She celebrated their special skill and added that "their hearts are to serve these kinds of victims."

Under the agreement, IJM will continue to receive case referrals from the government and is authorized to provide direct care and legal representation to sex trafficking survivors. The agreement outlines how IJM will work with the government to ensure survivors receive quality care at every phase, from the night they are rescued and interviewed about the abuse, to the kind of care and counseling they receive in the aftercare home, to the day the survivors return to their home communities.

IJM Pampanga Field Office Director Kaign Christy shared that IJM's work with the regional DSWD has been fruitful and encouraging in the first year and a half of operations. Kaign signed the agreement on IJM's behalf and spoke about the famous Philippine volcano, Mt. Arayat, as a symbol of the strong partnership between IJM and DSWD: "Trafficking has brutalized and devastated, but out of the ashes, beauty will rise," he said.