20/06/2012: PHL Cited for Significant Efforts in Elimination of Trafficking
20 June 2012, Washington DC. The Philippine government was cited for “making significant efforts” to eliminate trafficking, in the U.S. State Department’s 12th Annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report, which was released yesterday.
“We are glad that other governments are aware of the work being made by the Philippine government to combat human trafficking,” Philippine Ambassador to the U.S. Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. said. “We realize the seriousness of this problem and no less than Vice President Jejomar Binay and Justice Secretary Leila de Lima have made this a priority issue to be addressed.”
The Philippines maintained its position in the Tier 2 category, which indicates the State Department’s recognition of the efforts being undertaken by the Aquino administration to bring the country into compliance with standards set under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act’s (TVPA), a law enacted in the U.S. in October 2000 whose goals are to prevent human trafficking overseas, protect victims and help them rebuild their lives, and prosecute traffickers of persons.
Among the specific achievements of the Philippine government that were cited in the TIP Report are the following:
- the significant increase in funding of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking from the equivalent of $230,000 in 2010 to the equivalent of $1.5 million in 2011;
- the continued prosecution and conviction of trafficking offenders and implementation of a new program to protect and rehabilitate victims;
- continued efforts to address trafficking-related corruption and filing of criminal cases against 18 officials during the year; and
- notable efforts to prevent trafficking, including through training public officials, strengthening and expanding structures to screen for trafficking indicators before Filipino migrant workers’ departure overseas, and negotiating bilateral agreements to protect workers employed in foreign countries.
Among the ASEAN countries, also in the Tier 2 category were Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Singapore and Vietnam, while Malaysia, Thailand and Myanmar were placed in the Tier 2 Watch List. (END)