President Duterte has signed a law criminalizing the deployment of those below 24 years old to work domestically abroad as part of the government's protection of Filipinos against more ways of human trafficking.
Republic Act (RA) No. 11862, which amended several provisions of RA 9208, now prohibits the recruitment, transportation, obtainment, transfer, harboring, maintenance, offering, hiring, providing, receipt or adoption of "a child for deployment abroad as migrant worker." The law defines a child as someone below 24 years old.
The law also prohibits any person to facilitate any illegal child adoptions for exploitative purposes as well as to recruit a child to participate in any activities in the context of an armed conflict in the Philippines and abroad. The old law, entitled Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003, only prohibited previously the recruitment of a child to engage in armed activities.
Further, to recruit, transport or hire any person for forced labor and debt bondage while making him or her believe that without complying, he or she would suffer a serious harm is now also a form of trafficking in persons.
Other forms of human trafficking, as defined in the previous law, such as sexual exploitation, child pornography, drug trafficking and organ selling, are still prohibited under the new law entitled "Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2022."
Who are those defined as victims of human trafficking? The law states they are either a child; a survivor of a crisis, disaster or pandemic; a member of indigenous community or religious minority; a person with disability; a person who eventually gets pregnant or suffers from mental and emotional disorder; and a person who is victimized through the use of any computer system, among others.