House OKs stronger bill vs trafficking; online offenses now included

Published by rudy Date posted on January 25, 2022

By: Neil Arwin Mercado – Reporter / @NAMercadoINQINQUIRER.net / 11:03 PM January 25, 2022

MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives approved on second reading the bill strengthening policies on anti-trafficking in persons by including online abuses, such as pornography, as offenses.

Via voice voting, the lower chamber approved during Tuesday’s session House Bill No. 10658 which amends Republic Act No. 928 or the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003.

The measure seeks to modernize current laws by addressing trafficking activities committed in the advent of new technologies.

Under the measure, trafficking in persons is redefined to include online offenses; engagement in pornography, child sexual abuse and exploitation materials; and online sexual abuse.

The measure likewise seeks to enhance the ability of law enforcement agencies to be at par with the advancement of technology and allow them to utilize court-authorized wiretaps in investigating child trafficking and online sexual exploitation.

Moreover, the bill seeks the assistance of the private sector, which by the nature of their business activities, may come into contact with suspected trafficking situations.

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The measure also includes additional provisions for qualified trafficking when the persons trafficked are persons with disabilities, belongs to an indigenous community, when the crime is committed in times of crisis or emergency when the crime has resulted in pregnancy, or through the use of information and communications technology or using any computer system.

“Something has to be done to prevent exploitation of people for labor and sexual purposes,” Tingog Party-list Rep. Yedda Marie K. Romualdez, who chairs the House committee on the welfare of children, earlier said.

/MUF

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