Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Container Terminal Group Praised for Helping the Fight Against Human Trafficking

Freight Handler Wins Plaudits at Sustainable Business Awards
Shipping News Feature

PHILIPPINES – Sadly in the past few days the vile crime of human trafficking has risen to the top of the news headlines with the tragic death of 39 Vietnamese citizens found in a refrigerated container in the UK. Last month one organisation was credited with its actions to support the global fight against modern slavery when International Container Terminal Services Inc (ICTSI) won plaudits at the 2019 Sustainable Business Awards.

An illegal global trade that victimises 2.4 million people annually, trafficking activities, which include prostitution and forced labour, amount to US$32-billion every year, according to the United Nations. In the Philippines, online sexual exploitation remains prevalent, with victims, nearly 80% are minors, being baited into the trade. Filipino victims have fallen prey to sexual predators from around the world, with cybersex trade becoming a livelihood for poor families.

ICTSI earned a Special Recognition for Business Responsibility and Ethics for leading the effort to stop human trafficking across local and global supply chains, made possible through a $100,000 grant by ICTSI Foundation, Inc. (IFI), ICTSI’s corporate social responsibility arm, to the Voice of the Free Foundation, Inc. (formerly the Visayan Forum) in 2018. Christian R. Gonzalez, ICTSI Global Corporate Head and Foundation President said:

“While the phenomenal development of global connectivity, especially in mobile communications, the internet, and commercial transportation, have brought massive benefits to entire nations and regions, criminal elements, including those organised to profit from human trafficking, have also taken advantage of these connectivity systems to carry out their activities.

“As a global player aware of our critical role to stop trafficking in local and global supply chains, ICTSI is committed to empower vulnerable women and children so they can explore even greater opportunities in life without the risk of exploitation.”

The Company supports VF through the implementation of its key programmes, including victim identification in transportation systems, raising public awareness on human trafficking, and supporting victims in rebuilding their lives. A Philippine based NGO founded in 1991, VF is licensed by the government to operate a shelter and manage legal cases of young girls rescued from prostitution, cybersex and migrant forced labour.

Additionally, at its Manila headquarters, the ICTSI Foundation held an interface between ICTSI employees and human trafficking survivors to educate the staff on ways to combat human trafficking. Organised by the Singapore-based Global Initiatives, the Sustainable Business Awards-Philippines (SBA-Ph) recognises companies leading the way in sustainable business and which have truly instilled sustainability into their long-term business strategies.

SBA-Ph is conducted in partnership with global consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), with the results reviewed and decided by a national advisory panel in each country. The body is made up of senior representatives from business, academics, non-government organisations, regulatory agencies, and the media.

Photo: Rafael D. Consing Jr., ICTSI Chief Financial Officer (right), receives the citation in behalf of ICTSI from Anthony Gourlay, Chief Executive Officer of Global Initiatives (left) and Titon Mitra, Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme-Philippines (centre).