Philippines keeps rating on anti-human trafficking drive-A A +A
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
THE Philippines remains classified as “Tier 2” in the latest Global Trafficking in Person (GTIP) Report of the United States, Vice President Jejomar Binay said Wednesday.
Binay said the positive news was the result of the “effective coordination” from all member-agencies of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT).
“Being in Tier 2 status means that we are making significant efforts to comply with the requirements of the US Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA),” Binay said.
These include increased funding for anti-trafficking efforts, implemented a new program to rehabilitate victims and negotiated agreements with other nations to protect overseas Filipino workers.
However, the US government can still see the presence of forced labor, exploitation and prostitution among Filipino men, women, and children.
The report added Filipinos seeking job opportunities abroad end up as trafficking victims and was often subjected to psychological and physical abuse.
Binay, who is also Presidential Adviser on OFW Concerns, said the Aquino government was able to achieve 39 trafficking-related convictions in a span of 22 months compared to the 29 convictions the previous administration had from 2005 to June 2010.
Expressing optimism as well is Justice Secretary Leila de Lima.
“That’s a good thing. We do everything in improving our initiative. In fact, we registered bigger improvements since last year but of course we still have a lot of work to do to achieve our target,” she told reporters.
Based on the US government’s Tier System, countries and territories, whose government fully comply with the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, are categorized under Tier 1.
While those countries and territories where government do not fully comply with the Act’s minimum standard but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards fall under Tier 2.
Those in Tier 2 watchlist, however, are countries and territories that have an absolute number of victims of severe forms of trafficking that is increasing significantly. These are countries that failed to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat severe forms of trafficking in persons from the previous year.
Countries under Tier 2 watchlist should make significant efforts based on commitments by the country or territory to take additional future step and extra efforts over the next year.
In addition, countries under the Tier 2 watchlist for two consecutive years are at risk of an automatic downgrade to Tier 3 and it may cause for US government to withhold the $250 million non-humanitarian assistance to all those Tier 3 countries. (SDF/Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)