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DOJ: Tier 1 rating no reason to be complacent in anti-trafficking efforts

DOJ: Tier 1 rating no reason to be complacent in anti-trafficking efforts

MANILA, Philippines — After retaining a Tier 1 ranking in the US State Department 2021 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra vowed the department will not be complacent in its work and will improve its anti-trafficking response.

In its 2021 TIP report, the US State Department said the Philippine government met the minimum standards in the elimination of trafficking despite the COVID-19 pandemic in the past year. But it also noted the lack of conviction of officials complicit in continued trafficking and vigorous investigation into labor trafficking crimes in the country.

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Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra noted the efforts of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking, which his department also leads. The DOJ chief noted that while the country kept its Tier 1 ranking — for the sixth consecutive year — the government should not be complacent in its efforts. 

“We continue to aspire to improve our responses and to recalibrate our efforts to address the recommendations proposed in the 2021 US TIP Report, starting with the promising amendments to legislation in order to address the current gaps,” Guevarra said in a statement. 

Among the recommendations listed in the report is increasing efforts to investigate, prosecute and convict complicit officials and labor traffickers and strengthening local government units to provide reintegration services and increase support to government and NGOs to provide care for survivors. This include providing them with trauma-informed care, job training and in-country employment. 

The justice chief also vowed that they will continue to strengthen the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking by “increasing the capacities of our personnel in order to serve the public better.” 

The US State Department also noted that there have been fewer victims identified compared to the previous reporting period and “resources for law enforcement and specialized services for victims remained inadequate.” 

Justice Undersecretary Emmeline Aglipay-Villar, who is in charge of the IACAT, also thanked the US State Department for its support and to President Rodrigo Duterte for his marching orders to crackdown on human trafficking and illegal recruitment. 

“We continue to enhance and strengthen mutual coordination, collaboration and cross-border relationship with other jurisdictions,” she said. 

“We must educate the public on issues of concern and mobilize political will and resources to mitigate the impending risks and to further explore issues of particular relevance in the current forms of human trafficking, especially on child trafficking and online sexual exploitation of children,” she added. 

Credit belongs to : www.philstar.com


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