House panel OKs bill expanding anti-trafficking law
- Paolo Romero () - November 28, 2011 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The House committee on revision of laws has approved for plenary debate the proposed Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2011, a bill that would strengthen the government’s campaign against the crime that victimizes mostly women and children.

The bill expands the scope of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003. It consolidates the measures filed by Representatives Mel Senen Sarmiento, Karlo Alexei Nograles, Emmanuel Pacquiao, Erico Aumentado, Henry Pryde Teves, Susan Yap, Cinchona Cruz-Gonzales, Walden Bello and Rodante Marcoleta.

“Foremost, the intent of the measure is to eliminate trafficking in persons and mitigate pressures for involuntary migration and servitude of persons while instituting institutional support services, not only to assist trafficked persons but more importantly, to ensure their recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration into the mainstream society,” the authors said.

Pangasinan Rep. Marlyn Primicias-Agabas, chairperson of the panel, said the measure also seeks to increase penalties for human trafficking.

The proposed amendments define trafficking in persons as any acts of “obtaining, harboring, maintaining, offering, providing, transporting, or transferring” persons across borders without consent “by means of intimidation or threat, use of force or other forms of coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, debt bondage, abuse of power or of position or of legal process” for the “purpose of exploitation or profiting from exploitation.” 

The bill proposes a longer prison term of reclusion perpetua from reclusion temporal with corresponding fines ranging from P50,000 to P5 million.

The measure also provides for stiff penalties on those who would violate the provisions on strict confidentiality of the identity of the trafficked persons as well as circumstances that may lead to the identity of the victims.

The bill underscores the country’s policy to recognize the inherent human dignity of men and women as enshrined in the United Nations Universal Declaration on Human Rights, and the United Nations convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women.

It also supports the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, UN Convention on the Protection of Migrant Workers and their Families, the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime and all other relevant and universally accepted human rights instruments and conventions to which the country is a signatory.

CINCHONA CRUZ-GONZALES CONVENTION AGAINST TRANSNATIONAL ORGANIZED CRIME EMMANUEL PACQUIAO ERICO AUMENTADO EXPANDED ANTI-TRAFFICKING FORMS OF DISCRIMINATION HENRY PRYDE TEVES HUMAN RIGHTS KARLO ALEXEI NOGRALES PERSONS PERSONS ACT
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