Sara and Baste Duterte: Best poster girl and boy for campaign vs human trafficking?

June 29, 2017 - 4:12 PM
Sara and Baste Duterte from the Instagram account of Inday Sara Duterte-Carpio

MANILA, Philippines — Tough-talking, uncompromising, and influential, Sara Duterte and Baste Duterte can champion the fight against human trafficking, according to a former senatorial candidate, who champions the cause of overseas Filipino workers.

Susan Ople, president of the Blas F. Ople Policy Center, said the country badly needs “anti-trafficking national champions” and President Rodrigo Duterte’s children could be a good fit for the role.

“We need to have anti-trafficking champions and perhaps Sarah or Baste Duterte can be our champions given their celebrity status,” she said in a news conference Thursday, June 29.

Sara, a lawyer and the incumbent mayor of Davao City and Baste, host of a television program, are also known child rights advocates, according to Ople.

“In the same way that presidential daughter, Ivanka Trump, is now actively involved in the fight against global slavery, we hope presidential son Baste Duterte and Mayor Sara can be visible champions against illegal recruitment and human trafficking,” Ople said.

She said the designation of anti-human trafficking czar would also help maintain the Philippines’ Tier 1 status in the U.S. State Department’s Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report.

The Tier 1 status means that the Philippines meets the minimum standard to eliminate trafficking.

Ople noted that the fight against human trafficking is an advocacy shared by both President Duterte and U.S. President Donald Trump. The 2017 US TIP report is the first to be issued by the Trump administration.

During the unveiling of the TIP report, Ivanka Trump said, “Ending human trafficking is a major foreign policy priority for the Trump administration.”

President Duterte, in his first State of the Nation Address, also cited the fight against human trafficking as a major priority.

“I hope that Baste Duterte considers taking up the cause, especially as someone who hails from Mindanao where we have encountered several cases of human trafficking and illegal recruitment. He can do this even as a private citizen,” Ople said.