The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) paid tribute to the government’s efforts to combat human trafficking as it cited the 2002 Trafficking in Persons Report of the United States’ (US) Department of State.
It said the US report recognized the Philippine government’s serious and sustained anti-trafficking efforts and said that more victims of trafficking have been identified compared to that in 2020.
The CHR said the report stated that the Philippines was able to establish a standard procedure for the identification and monitoring of corruption cases related to trafficking, and convicted almost all traffickers with significant prison terms.
At the same time, the CHR said the report cited that the Philippines was able to utilize financial and digital evidence, which helped expedite trials and reduce reliance on the testimony of survivors.
In doing so, the report stated that the possibility of letting victims, particularly children, relive their trauma through trial has been lowered.
The CHR stressed that anti-trafficking efforts require “stronger actions” in the form of prosecution and conviction of traffickers, as well as holding to account officials who are reportedly complicit to trafficking crimes.
“It is notable that the Philippines maintained its Tier 1 status in combating trafficking amid the compounding challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” CHR Executive Director Jacqueline Ann de Guia said in a statement.
De Guia said the accomplishment is a manifestation of the Philippine government’s “genuine commitment” to protect the rights and dignity of vulnerable sectors.
The CHR likewise lauded the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT), which is chaired by the Department of Justice and co-chaired by the Department of Social Welfare and Development, for its innovative and inclusive efforts in fighting trafficking.
The CHR echoed the recommendations made by the US government on areas of ensuring accountability and providing assistance and services for victims and witnesses, De Guia said.
“For our part, the Commission shall continue to work with government agencies to ensure appropriate referral and responses to human trafficking,” she said.
“Human trafficking denigrates the dignity of individuals and tramples on the most basic human right to life, liberty, and security. It is vital that we continually work to address all forms of exploitation and abuse that prey on the most vulnerable members of our society,” she added.