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RP Backslides In Fight VS Human Trafficking

June 18, 2009

trafficked filipinas montage

HILLARY PRESENTING HUMAN TRAFFICKING REPORTIt was US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton herself who presented her agency’s 2009 global report on trafficking in humans.

While the 324-page devotes only 3 pages for its fairly-balanced ‘country narrative’ on the Philippines, its citation of  “endemic corruption” with particular mention of  that problem being “pervasive” in law enforcement agencies  is damning.

http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2009/index.htm

The US State State Department report also notes despite 6-year-old anti human trafficking law Republic Act 9208  in force force ) there have only been four convictions, with the justice system unable to measure up to the challenges and victims failing to obtain adequate relief.

Read R.A. 9208 here:

http://www.lawphil.net/statutes/repacts/ra2003/ra_9208_2003.html

RP YR ON YR HUMAN TRAFFICKING TIERS LEVELS

A couple of lines from the report say volumes about why the Philippines has slid to a 2nd tier ranking:

Although there was an increase in the number of trafficking cases filed in court, only four trafficking convictions were obtained under the 2003 anti-trafficking law during the reporting period, and there were no reported labor trafficking convictions, despite widespread reports of Filipinos trafficked for forced labor within the country and abroad. The number of convictions for sex trafficking offenders is low given the significant scope and magnitude of sex trafficking within the country and to destinations abroad.

Achieving more tangible results in convicting trafficking offenders, and in investigating and prosecuting officials complicit in trafficking is essential for the Government of the Philippines to make more progress toward compliance with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.

The government’s ability to effectively prosecute trafficking crimes is severely limited by an inefficient judicial system and endemic corruption.

Corruption among law enforcement agents remained pervasive, and some law enforcement and immigration officers were complicit in trafficking and permitted organized crime groups involved in trafficking to conduct their illegal activities. It is widely believed that some government officials were directly involved in or profited from trafficking operations within the country. Law enforcement officers often extracted protection money from illegitimate businesses, including brothels, in return for tolerating their operation.

The victimization of Filipinas from the southern Philippines is described his way:

Muslim Filipina girls from Mindanao were trafficked to the Middle East by other Muslims. Filipinas are also trafficked abroad for commercial sexual exploitation, primarily to Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, and countries in Africa, the Middle East, and Western Europe. Internally, women and children are trafficked from poor farming communities in the Visayas and Mindanao to urban areas such as Manila and Cebu City, but also increasingly to cities in Mindanao, for commercial sexual exploitation or for
forced labor as domestic servants or factory workers.

An increasing number of women and children from Mindanao were trafficked internally and trans-nationally for domestic work. Traffickers used land and sea transportation to transfer victims from island provinces to major cities. A growing trend continued to be the use of budget airline carriers to transport victims out of the country. Traffickers used fake travel documents, falsified permits, and altered birth certificates. Migrant workers were often subject to violence, threats, inhumane living conditions, non-payment of salaries, and withholding of  travel and identity documents. A small number of women are occasionally trafficked from the People’s Republic of China, Russia, South Korea, and Eastern Europe to the Philippines for commercial sexual exploitation.

For the very first time it is a lady, Attorney Agnes Devanadera, who’s at the helm of the Department of Justice.

She’s no longer there in acting capacity and while she has long been aspiring to sit in the Supreme Court, the deciding factor for her to attain that dream could very erll be how she address the problems narrated by the first US global report on human trafficking under the new dispensation at the White House.

The report surely is not “partisan political noise” and neither is it just an unfavourable opinion survey of limited coverage.

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