FGD on the Plight of Women-fisherfolk and girl at risk of Trafficking
The CHR 9 interviewed 20 participants-respondents women fisherfolk from Zamboanga City in the FGD on
the Plight of Womenfisherfolk and Girl at risk of Trafficking. Respondents were housewives and married to fishermen
who used to hunt and catch fish in areas such as Sta. Cruz Island, Sumarik, Layag-Layag Tagtabun, Sumatra,
Mariki, Linungan, Banalipa, Sinunuc, Baliwasan, and Paseo. Respondents’ role was to market and sell the catch of
their husbands. As such they identify themselves as women fisherfolk.
Respondents main issue is the inconsistency of their income as it is dependent on how good their catch for
the day is and the COVID 19 outbreak worsen their situation, as they observe decrease in demand and the effect of
quarantine measures prompted law enforcers to be stricter in their fishing activities requiring them additional permits
under the new normal. Moreover, even when they have a catch, they have a hard time selling them because of
restriction to movement and decrease in demand. One of the respondents manifested that they even peddle their
catch to the nearby Christian community hoping that they will earn more.
Their participation in decision making is also limited as they are not encouraged to speak up. Their only
participation is to sell their catch and do house chores. Despite their limited participation respondents still believe that
they are given enough attention in the sector they are in because they feel that they are secured with the presence of
law enforcers in sea and land. Moreover, they are able to receive other assistance as well to include financial
assistance during medical emergencies and food supplies from LGU during the pandemic.
Generally, respondents manifested that there are no GBV in their community. However, one of the
respondents allegedly witnessed some “Bisaya women” akyat barko while others say they heard similar stories in
their community but there are no proofs to that effect. On the other hand, when they were asked about the possible
cause of such violence, their general perception was towards women being at fault and that the same may be due to
the effects of the Pandemic on their mental health (quarantine and low income). One of the respondents also shared
that maybe women were forced to engage in “akyat barko” as a means of their survival.
The respondents’ recommendation was for the Government to provide them with assistance as to materials,
machines and boat so that they will be able to sustain themselves and not borrow from others. They also highlight the
importance of lectures, seminars and skills workshops on women’s rights so that they will be empowered. Moreover,
they hope that this Pandemic end as it greatly affected their way of life and means of livelihood.

Per PNP WCPC-MFU records - traditional trafficking case for 2020 in Region 9, they were able to conduct 8
operations which resulted to the rescue of 118 victims. Five (5) of which were male of legal age, 110 were female of
legal age and 3 female minors. This report also included the arrest of two (2) female of legal age engaged in
trafficking in person and the successful filing of ten (10) cases. Further, there were no cases of OSEC in Region 9.
However, there were reported cases in other areas in Mindanao as such they were able to conduct 14 operations

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