Aguirre urges IACAT to intensify anti-human trafficking campaign

MANILA-- Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Friday urged Inter Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) to continues intensify the campaign against the human trafficking in the country.

Aguirre made the statement after the Philippines remained in Tier 1 ranking in a new United States (US) report on trafficking in persons (TIP) for two consecutive years.

The IACAT is chaired by Aguirre and co-chaired by Social Welfare and Development Secretary Judy M. Taguiwalo.

We are in Tier 1, let us stay in Tier 1 that was the challenge I gave to all the stakeholders in the IACAT last year when we first got our Tier 1 ranking. I am very glad that everybody collectively responded to the challenge. This is a great achievement indeed in our fight against modern day slavery. Here is to more Tier 1 rankings in the coming years. Together, we can do more to end this evil. Congratulations to IACAT, Aguirre said.

Aguirre said that the fight against trafficking in person has been strengthened under the Duterte Administration.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte, in his first State of the Nation Address in July 2016, instructed all government agencies to intensify all efforts in the fight to end human trafficking.

From July 2016 to June 2017, a total of 1,567 victims were served and 44 convictions were secured, putting 44 traffickers behind bars.

The retention of the Tier 1 status is proof of the country's continuing commitment to ending this heinous crime. We acknowledge that Philippines, even in Tier 1, should do more to combat human trafficking and vows to continue its intensified efforts. I always say, nobody has the right to profit from the deprivation of the freedom of others. When we dehumanize others, we dehumanize ourselves, Aguirre said.

The Philippines first achieved Tier 1 status in 2016, after placing in Tier 2 for five years from 2011-2015.

The Philippines was the first and the only Southeast Asian nation to have achieved the status, sealing a regional leadership position in combating trafficking in persons.

The Philippines has successfully retained its Tier 1 ranking in the United States Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report this year, ranking alongside developed countries.

The complicity and corruption that facilitates human trafficking must end. Justice must be served both to deter potential traffickers but also to restore the dignity of survivors. To accomplish this, governments needs to speed up the delivery of justice while respecting due process, impose adequate terms of imprisonment commensurate with the heinous nature of the crime, and prosecute all criminally culpable parties and intermediaries, Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons Ambassador-at-Large Susan Coppedge said.

However, being in Tier 1 does not mean that there is no trafficking occurring in a given country, rather, it means that the country has acknowledged that the crime is prevalent and that it has made and sustained efforts to suppress it. Furthermore, its interventions meet the minimum requirements set by the United States Trafficking Victims Prevention Act 0f 2000, as amended.

The TIP Report is a diplomatic tool of the US Government to engage foreign governments on human trafficking.

The report is also the world's most comprehensive resource of governmental anti-human trafficking efforts and reflects the US Government's commitment to global leadership on this key human rights and law enforcement issue.

In the TIP Report, the US State Department places each country onto one of three tiers based on the extent of their governments' efforts to comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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