PH hailed on war vs sex trafficking

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The fight of the Philippine government against sex trafficking in the past five years was “remarkable,” according to a non-government organization (NGO).

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Sam Inocencio, a lawyer and director for Manila field office of the International Justice Mission (IJM), said on Tuesday, “The gains made in the [Philippine government’s] sex trafficking investigations and prosecutions are truly remarkable.”

Thus, Inocencio, also a NGO representative for the Children’s Sector in the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking, urged the Aquino administration to continue its job of putting an end to sex trafficking of Filipino women.

IJM’s appraisal of the country’s war on sex trafficking 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 in the past five years.

The US State Department has given the Philippines a Tier 2 ranking for this year, a placing the country has been getting since 2011.

A Tier 2 ranking means the government is not fully compliant with standards found in the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of the US, which, ironically, is making significant efforts to bring itself into compliance with those standards.

In 2009 and 2010, the US State Department handed the Philippines a Tier 3 ranking, meaning the country performed poorly and the government did not exert substantial efforts to address sex trafficking.

Inocencio said the 2015 TIP Report specifically noted that the Philippine “police [have]investigated 282 alleged cases of trafficking… from 155 the previous year.”

Also, the efforts of the National Bureau of Investigation in investigating about 107 sex-trafficking cases, she added, were recognized.

The TIP Report also noted the conviction of 53 sex traffickers, which increased from 31 in the previous year, Inocencio said.

“When police investigations increase[d]by over 80 percent and convictions increase[d]by over 70 percent, they [proved a strategic concept that shows]criminal accountability is vital in deterring and sustainably reducing sex trafficking.”

Jesse Rudy, also a lawyer and national director of IJM-Philippines, pointed out, “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 said IJM fully supports the call of the US 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;… to increase the availability of quality shelter and protection services for trafficking victims.”

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