By Genalyn Kabiling
The government is determined to sustain efforts to protect the people from being exploited for forced labor and other schemes by trafficking syndicates.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque has recognized that human trafficking remains one of the threats to the nation, saying the government will enforce local laws as well as comply with international obligations against this menace.
The country recently kept its Tier 1 status for the fifth year in complying with the United States’ anti-human trafficking measures. The US State Department however noted the government did not vigorously prosecute suspected erring officials, fraudulent recruiters and other labor traffickers.
“We have existing laws against human trafficking. We are parties to all relevant treaties to human trafficking and we are ensuring that we are implementing our laws as well as discharging our treaty obligations to the fullest,” Roque said during a recent press briefing.
“We remain committed po in the worldwide fight against human trafficking, dahil isa po itong malaking banta dito sa ating bansa (because this is one of the huge threats in the country),” he said.
The US State Department recently released its report that ranks countries for their efforts to combat human trafficking. The Philippines, alongside Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan, are among the Asian countries that earned the Tier 1 ranking for meeting the US minimum standards of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act.
In the Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report, the US State Department cited the Philippine government for it “continued to demonstrate serious and sustained efforts” against human trafficking.
It also commended Manila for “improving the coordination of services for returning Filipino migrant workers who were victims of trafficking overseas, convicting and punishing traffickers, including an official complicit in sex trafficking and labor traffickers, increasing assistance to survivors who provide testimony, and increasing the use of prosecution procedures that reduce the potential for further harm to trafficking victims.”
The US report, however, recommended that the Philippines should step up its efforts to investigate and prosecute complicit officials and labor traffickers.