IACAT taps AMLC in fight vs human trafficking

Published July 7, 2022, 8:25 AM

by Jeffrey Damicog

IACAT

The Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) has tapped the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) in the government’s all-out campaign against human trafficking.

Led by the Department of Justice (DOJ), the IACAT has signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the AMLC “to strengthen their cooperation and coordination in the investigation and prosecution of money laundering and trafficking in persons.”

DOJ Undersecretary George O. Ortha II, IACAT officer-in-charge, said the MOA is part of “joint efforts for building a long-term and strategic partnership between AMLC and IACAT.”

“We see this as a momentous event that would truly intensify our efforts in combatting money laundering and trafficking — though stemming from different acts — are still connected.” Ortha said.

He said that under the agreement, “the parties shall provide assistance in the investigation and prosecution of money laundering involving trafficking in persons.”

“Specifically, the parties are mandated in partnering in exchange of information and planning of capacity building activities to enhance the office of both parties in the implementation of this MOA,” he also said.

He noted that “the agreement authorizes IACAT and AMLC to exchange information that are vital to the investigation and prosecution of these crimes, and aims to provide joint training to ensure the inter-operability of their respective personnel.”

Last March, the IACAT said that two girls were rescued from online sexual exploitation activities in Capas, Tarlac.

The girls – 12 and 15 years old – were rescued during the operation conducted by the Philippine National Police’s Women and Children Protection Center (PNP-WCPC), the National Bureau of Investigation’s Anti-Human-Trafficking Division (NBI-AHTRAD), the Austrian Federal Police (AFP), and the United Kingdom National Crime Agency (UK NCA).

“Both victims were immediately taken into government custody by the social workers after rescue and were transported to Metro Manila for appropriate turn-over to a specialized shelter,” IACAT said.

Also last February, IACAT said that two persons were convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment by the Pateros regional trial court (RTC) in Rizal for online sexual trafficking of children (OSEC).

In a statement, IACAT said: “The Regional Trial Court Branch 262 Pateros Station sentenced one male and one female traffickers to life imprisonment for sexually exploiting children in the Philippines.”

It said that Victor Mendoza Amarillo and Marjorie Cristle Amarillo Imson were found guilty of two counts of qualified trafficking in persons under Republic Act No. 10364, the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012, in relation to RA 9208, the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003; and two counts of child pornography in violation of RA 9775, the Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2012, in relation to RA 10175, the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.

They were also “ordered to pay a fine of P4 million, and directed to pay moral damages to each of the victims amounting to P500,000,” it said.

Aside from the DOJ, the other agencies in IACAT are the Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Labor and Employment, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, Bureau of Immigration, Philippine National Police, Philippine Commission on Women, Commission on Filipinos Overseas. Philippine Center for Transnational Crimes, Coalition Against Trafficking In Women – Asia Pacific, Blas F. Ople Policy Center and Training Institute, and International Justice Mission.

 
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