THE Aquino administration is not completely a poor performer, according to a non- governmental organization (NGO).
Director for Manila field office of the International Justice Mission (IJM) Atty. Sam Inocencio on Tuesday said, “The gains made in the [government’s fight against] sex trafficking investigations and prosecutions are truly remarkable.”
Inocencio, also an NGO representative for the children’s sector the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT), strongly urged the administration to continue its job in putting an end to sex trafficking of Filipino women in order to improve the administration’s performance.
IJM’s stand was based on the 2015 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report published by the United States Department of State, which recognized the Philippine government’s efforts particularly against sex trafficking for the past five years.
The US State Department has ranked the Philippines at Tier 2 for this year, a rank the country got since 2011.
A Tier 2 ranking means the government is not fully compliant with the standards found in the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of the US.
In 2009 and 2010, the US State Department ranked the Philippines at Tier 3, meaning the country did not make substantial efforts on addressing the problem against sex trafficking.
Inocencio said the 2015 TIP Report specifically stated that the Philippine “police [has]investigated 282 alleged cases of trafficking… from 155 the previous year.”
The efforts, however, of the National Bureau of Investigations in investigating about 107 sex trafficking cases were recognized, Inocencio said.
The TIP Report likewise noted the conviction of 53 sex traffickers, which increased from 31 in the previous year, she continued.
Inocencio stressed that “When police investigations increase[d]by over 80% and convictions increase[d]by over 70%, it [emphasizes a strategic concept which shows that]the criminal accountability is vital in deterring and sustainably reducing sex trafficking.”
Atty. Jesse Rudy, national director of IJM-Philippines, added, “What is clear from the 2015 TIP Report is that the Philippine government’s increased law enforcement efforts to combat sex trafficking are working.”
Inocencio also said that her group, IJM, has not only expressed appreciation on what the US monitored in the Philippines concerning sex trafficking problems, but also fully supports the call of the U.S. Department of State to the Aquino administration “to implement the continuous trial mechanism more widely; to strengthen anti-trafficking training for judicial officials, law enforcement and diplomats; and to increase the availability of quality shelter and protection services for trafficking victims.”