International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI)’s initiative supporting the global fight against modern slavery has been cited as one of the outstanding corporate sustainability efforts in the Philippines during the recent 2019 Sustainable Business Awards.
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 Php5-million 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 organized to profit from human trafficking, have also taken advantage of these connectivity systems to carry out their activities.”
He adds: “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 programs – 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 labor.
Within the Manila flagship, the ICTSI Foundation likewise held an interface between ICTSI employees and human trafficking survivors to educate them on ways to combat human trafficking.
An illegal global trade that victimizes 2.4-million people annually, trafficking activities, which include prostitution and forced labor, amount to US$32-billion every year, according to the United Nations. In the Philippines, online sexual exploitation remains prevalent, with victims, nearly 80 percent 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.
Organized by the Singapore-based Global Initiatives, the Sustainable Business Awards-Philippines (SBA-Ph) recognizes 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, the academe, non-government organizations, regulatory agencies, and the media.