26 June 2024 – US anti-trafficking report: Philippines keeps Tier 1 status

Published by rudy Date posted on June 28, 2024

Pia Lee-Brago – The Philippine Star 

MANILA, Philippines — For the ninth straight year, the Philippines remained on Tier 1, the top ranking in the US Department of State’s latest annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report.

The 2024 TIP Report released on June 24 said the Philippine government fully meets the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.?

“The government continued to demonstrate serious and sustained efforts during the reporting period; therefore, the Philippines remained on Tier 1,” the report stated.?

These efforts include investigating and prosecuting more trafficking suspects, finalizing and adopting the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking standard operating procedures on the identification and monitoring of trafficking-related corruption cases, promulgating implementing rules and regulations for its amended anti-trafficking law and sentencing nearly all traffickers to significant prison terms.

The report also stated some aspects for improvement, including inconsistent screening on trafficking individuals involved in online scam operations that resulted in the penalization and deportation of victims of the traffickers.

It added that the government identified fewer victims and courts convicted slightly fewer traffickers. Corruption and official complicity in trafficking crimes remained significant concerns, inhibiting law enforcement action during the year.

The report mentioned allegations of official complicity in a large online scam operation resulting in the exploitation of more than 730 potential labor trafficking victims under the guise of Philippine offshore gaming operations (POGOs). The government discharged and began investigating a municipal police chief and 26 other officers for “neglect of duty.”

But the report said the “government did not report updates to this case, or whether authorities investigated the allegedly complicit officials for trafficking crimes.”

The TIP Report is a diplomatic tool to engage foreign governments on human trafficking.

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