FORGE opens new shelter for trafficking survivors

CEBU CITY — The Fellowship for Organizing Endeavors (FORGE), Inc., with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), opened on November 29, 2017 a new shelter in this city for boys rescued from commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking. The 24-hour residential care facility will provide food and shelter, educational assistance, counseling services, and medical and dental treatment for teenage boys, ages 12 to 17 years old.

The new shelter comes at a critical time, given the rising number of male victims of forced labor, sex trafficking, and online sexual exploitation. Meanwhile, the majority of shelters around the country extend protection services primarily to female victims of sex trafficking.

USAID Mission Director Lawrence Hardy II led the inauguration ceremony of the shelter during his visit to Cebu, alongside officials of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking. “Trafficking preys upon the most vulnerable. This is the very reason why USAID supports counter-trafficking initiatives in the Philippines and in 67 other countries around the world,” Hardy said.

USAID provided a grant to FORGE through the Philippine-American Fund, USAID’s grant-making facility that strengthens the capacity of civil society organizations to develop and carry out their own solutions to the country’s priority development issues. Through this fund, USAID has partnered with six local organizations working to counter human trafficking across Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, to strengthen and widen prosecution, prevention, and protection interventions.

USAID also offers capacity building programs on organizational development and project management for its grantees, helping them to maximize their resources and sustain their work.

Since 2013, USAID’s Php1.2 billion Philippine-American Fund, managed by the Gerry Roxas Foundation, has awarded 37 grants to local organizations working to conserve biodiversity, boost economic growth, promote good governance, strengthen basic education, and counter trafficking in persons. (US Embassy News)