FROM the lowest level Tier 3 to five years in Tier 2, the Philippines is now in Tier 1 in the Global Trafficking in Persons (GTIP) report.
Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale and Regional State Prosecutor Fernando Gubalane confirmed this during a press conference organized by the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) in commemoration of World Day Against Trafficking.
Based on the US Department of State website, Tier 1 countries are those whose governments fully comply with the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) minimum standards.
“Kitang tanan, we are all stakeholders, we all contributed to the improvement of our rating,” said Magpale.
IACAT member agencies are the Provincial Women’s Commission (PWC), Philippine National Police (PNP), Bureau of Immigration (BI), POEA, DOLE, DFA, DSWD and Department of Justice (DOJ).
One factor that improved the country’s rating is the numerous convictions achieved with the help of DOJ, said Maria Luisa Aurora Ratilla.
With 30 persons convicted of human trafficking from 2005 to July 2010, the figure increased during President Benigno Aquino’s administration. From July 2010 to June 2016, there were 209 convictions, Gubalane said.
Magpale cited President Rodrigo Duterte’s recent State of the Nation Address (Sona) where he vowed to use the full force of the law against human traffickers.
IACAT and PWC are two separate organizations which is composed of different agencies but with similar objective.
The PWC is also composed of various government agencies, like the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), medical specialists from DOH and DOJ prosecutors.
Magpale said the United States Department of Homeland Security (USDHS) is also assisting PWC by providing high-tech gadgets in their operations.
Prior to raids, operatives use a cellphone jamming devise that temporarily disables all communications to prevent lookouts from calling their cohorts and warning them of an impending operation.
PWC also sought the help of USDHS specialists in examining contents of confiscated computers, which may be used as evidence against arrested suspects.
Magpale said the PWC has filed numerous cybercrime cases in court, involving parents as suspects with their children as victims.