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ILO good practices on Return and Reintegration - Philippines

— theme: Return and re-integration of migrants
— country: Philippines
— type: Good Practices

The Japan, HSF funded ILO project: "Economic and Social Empowerment of Returned Victims of Trafficking in the Philippines and Thailand" (2006-2009) produced a set of Emerging Good Practices on Return and Reintegration in Thailand and the Philippines. These emerging good practices outline the significant accomplishments, approaches and learnings of the ILO and its implementing partners in the Philippines and Thailand in working with victims and survivors and in developing national systems and tools to facilitate the efficient delivery of reintegration services.

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In Southeast Asia, Thailand and the Philippines are among the countries facing serious problems of trafficking in persons. Many women in both countries are lured to the promise of overseas employment, but end up in exploitative situations like prostitution, pornography, other sexual exploitation and forced or bonded labor. Efforts are being made through the enactment of laws and development of policies and measures to prevent this situation from continuing and to protect the rights of trafficked persons. But the fact remains the return and reintegration process, as one of the several stages of migration, has remained the least concern of policy and program interventions, or if so, has been improperly attended to.

Many victims of trafficking face a myriad of problems upon return. Aside from the trauma they suffer and the stigma attached to their being exploited victims of trafficking have to endure and cope with reintegration problems with their families and communities. They experience rejection by their families who have hoped better living conditions through their remittances. More often than not, however, victims of trafficking come home empty-handed, with inadequate savings, or heavily indebted. Much as they want to work in their countries of origin, they possess inadequate skills or lack qualifications, aside from the scarce local job opportunities. Compounding their situation is their fear of retaliation from their traffickers and recruiters.

Given this situation, and in the light of recent migration policy and law enforcement changes in many destination countries in Asia which is seen to result in more repatriation, the ILO implemented a project called "Economic and Social Empowerment of Returned Victims of Trafficking in the Philippines and Thailand" (2006-2009) to support a humane reintegration process of returned trafficked victims back to their countries of origin. The project emphasized the long-term economic and social empowerment and the provision of core social services to the victims. One of the products of the project is the set of  emerging good practices from Thailand and the Philippines.

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