US anti-trafficking report: Philippines keeps Tier 1 status

Pia Lee-Brago - The Philippine Star
US anti-trafficking report: Philippines keeps Tier 1 status
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken presents an award to Samson Inocencio Jr., vice president of the International Justice Mission Philippines, as one of this year’s Trafficking in Persons Report Heroes, at an event launching the US State Department’s 2024 TIP Report yesterday in Washington.

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.

It provides the world’s most comprehensive assessment of this abhorrent practice and efforts by governments and stakeholders around the globe to combat it.

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