For the fifth year, the Philippines retains its Tier 1 ranking in the US government’s report on human trafficking.
According to the 2020 Trafficking in Persons report, the Philippine government fully meets the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking as it continues to demonstrate serious and sustained efforts during the reporting period.
The points raised in the report on government efforts to eliminate trafficking include:
improving the coordination of services for returning Filipino migrant workers who were victims of trafficking overseas
convicting and punishing traffickers, including an official complicit in sex trafficking and labor traffickers
increasing assistance to survivors who provide testimony
increasing the use of prosecution procedures that reduce the potential for further harm to trafficking victims.
The US government also noted that focus on some areas or programs has to be considered by local officials, including failure to vigorously investigate and prosecute officials allegedly involved in trafficking crimes, consistently criminally prosecute fraudulent recruiters and other labor traffickers, or increase support for specialized protection and assistance services for child victims of cyber-facilitated sex trafficking.
“Community reintegration services, including trauma informed care, employment training, and job placement for survivors also remained inadequate,” the report said.
The following are the recommendations:
Increase efforts to investigate, prosecute, and convict complicit officials and labor traffickers
Strengthen the capacity of local government units to provide reintegration services for trafficking survivors, including trauma-informed care, job training, and in country employment.
Establish and implement a process to ensure systematic and ongoing input from a diverse community of survivors on the design, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of anti-trafficking policies and programs.
Provide increased support to government and NGO programs that provide specialized care for child victims of online sexual exploitation.
Increase resources for anti-trafficking task forces to conduct timely investigations, coordinated operations, and prosecutions while providing robust victim and witness assistance services.
Increase efforts to identify and assist child labor trafficking victims.
Provide increased resources for law enforcement units designated to investigate online child sexual exploitation and other cyber-facilitated trafficking crimes.
Consistently implement the coordinated interagency response to providing services to returning Filipinos who experienced sex and labor trafficking overseas.
Create a central database for information on illegal recruiters and human trafficking cases to facilitate interagency coordination in detecting, investigating, and prosecuting traffickers.
The annual report has four classifications: Tier 1 (full compliance), Tier 2 (no full compliance but making significant efforts to comply with standards), Tier 2 Watchlist (no full compliance and absolute number of victims increasing), and Tier 3 (no full compliance, no significant efforts to comply). — BAP, GMA News