US report: Philippines complies with âminimumâ standards in eliminating human trafficking
This undated file photo shows women covering their faces with towels.
The STAR/Miguel de Guzman, File

US report: Philippines complies with ‘minimum’ standards in eliminating human trafficking

Gaea Katreena Cabico (Philstar.com) - June 26, 2020 - 10:46am

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines fully met the minimum standards in ending human trafficking for the fifth straight year, the US State Department said in an annual report released Friday. 

“The government continued to demonstrate serious and sustained efforts during the reporting period; therefore the Philippines remained on Tier 1,” the State Department said. Those included in Tier 1 are nations whose governments fully comply with US anti-human trafficking measures.

“These efforts included 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; and increasing the use of prosecution procedures that reduce the potential for further harm to trafficking victims,” it said.

The State Department cited the conduct of 245 anti-trafficking coordinated operations and investigation of 462 investigations, which resulted in the arrest of 507 suspects.

Lapses

The US State Department, however, noted the Philippines did not vigorously probe and prosecute government officials accused of involvement in trafficking crimes.

The government also failed to “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.”

It added that community reintegration services, including trauma-informed care, employment training, and job placement for survivors also remained “inadequate.”

According to Washington report, forced labor and sex trafficking of men, women and children within the Philippines remains a “significant” problem.

“Traffickers exploit women and children from rural communities, conflict and disaster-affected areas, and impoverished urban centers in sex trafficking, forced domestic work, and other forms of forced labor in tourist destinations and urban areas around the country, and exploit men in forced labor in the agricultural, construction, fishing, and maritime industries,” the State Department said.

“Law enforcement information indicates that the Philippines is one of the largest known sources of online sexual exploitation of children, in which traffickers sexually exploit children, individually and in groups, in live internet broadcasts in exchange for compensation wired through a money transfer agency by individuals most often in another country, including the United States, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom,” it added.

As its top recommendation, the US State Department said the Philippines should increase efforts to probe, prosecute and convict complicit officials and labor traffickers and strengthen the capacity of local governments to provide reintegration services for victims of the crime.

HUMAN TRAFFICKING US STATE DEPARTMENT
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