TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte, Sept. 5 (PIA).. The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Eastern Visayas has urged the public to be vigilant in their own localities against human traffickers.

In a a Press conference held Tuesday at the UNOCHA Headquarters, Liceo del Verbo, this city, Charis Rosal of DSWD stressed the importance of increasing the level of awareness of the people especially in poor communities who are vulnerable to such kind of activity to prevent them from being victimized.

In the region, 44 incidents were reported to the DSWD Regional Office 8 within this year. Some of the perpetrators were collared in Tacloban City.

The recent incident happened at the Tacloban Airport where a foreigner and a Filipina attempted to force a minor to board a plane.

Prior to this, a case of child trafficking was also filed by the Tacloban PNP against five adults who were charged for violation of Section 4 of Republic Act 10364 or the Human Trafficking Law for victimizing five minors aged 12 to 15 years old in the municipality of Marabut Western Samar.

The five suspected traffickers who are members of an international non-government organization and a school principal in Marabut Western Samar were collared by authorities at the Tacloban Abucay New Bus Terminal sometime in the month of April this year.

The group were even detained at the Tacloban City lock up cell for three months but released two weeks ago after the case was dismissed due to lack of evidence.

Rosal further said that the incidents reported in 2014 is more than 50% higher of the 38 cases reported from 2011-2013.

As of this writing, there was no conviction yet based on court records in the region.(aen/cba/PIA-8)