SIGNIFICANT EFFORTS AGAINST TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS
Human trafficking remains to be among the government’s priorities in the area of transnational crimes. Based on US report, the Philippines was placed under the “Tier 2 Watchlist” in years 2004, 2005, 2009 and 2010. But, with the country’s intensified efforts to curb human trafficking, the country’s category was upgraded into the “Tier 2” group since 2011 up to the present.
The Philippines implemented the following laws and protection programs on trafficking in women and children:
- The Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012 (Republic Act 10364)
- The Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003 (Republic Act 9208);
- The Philippine Coast Guard Law of 2009 (Section 3 (1) of Republic Act 9993);
- The Witness Protection, Security and Benefit Acts (Republic Act 6981);
- The Board of Claims or Victims Compensation Program (Republic Act 7309), where DOJ gives compensation to victims of violent crimes, which include trafficked victim;
- DOJ Circular No. 57 (2010), directing all Prosecutors to prioritize and immediately resolve cases of human trafficking. It also ordered the prohibition of case dismissal based on the Affidavit of Desistance executed by the victims or their guardians;
- Supreme Court Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) Circular No. 151 (2010), instructing all Judges in the to expedite and speed up the disposition of TIP cases involving violations of RA 9208, and submit the list and status report of trafficking cases pending in their respective courts;
- Articles 272, 340, 341 of the Revised Penal Code of the Philippines
- Mail-Order Bride Law of 2009 (Republic Act 6955);
- Memorandum Order No. RADJR-2011-006 Prescribing the Guidelines and Mechanisms to Implement the Bureau of Immigration Integrated Anti-Trafficking in Persons (BI-IATIP) Action Plan;
- Memorandum Order No. RADJR-2011-012 Strengthening the TCEU under the Airport Operations Division;
- The Special Protection of Children against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act (Republic Act 7610);
- Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004 (Republic Act 9262)
- Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995 (Republic Act 10022, an Act Amending R.A. No. 8042);
- Inter-Country Adoption Law (Republic Act 8043); and
- Philippine Passport Act of 1996 (Republic Act 8239)
To sustain the Philippine Government’s initiatives against human trafficking, Interpol NCB-Manila maintains several projects such as:
- “I-24/7 Expansion Program;
- The INTERPOL “Visa Check” Project;
- The INTERPOL “Lost Passport” Project;
- The INTERPOL “Red Notice” on wanted persons;
- The INTERPOL “Yellow Notice” on missing person identification;
- The INTERPOL “Blue Notice” for locating persons and information;
- The INTERPOL “Black Notice” for information on unidentified bodies;
- The INTERPOL “White Notice” for supporting the UN in its fight against terrorists acts (TALIBANS, Al Qaeda)
- The INTERPOL “Green Notice” for warning on persons with criminal records;
- The INTERPOL “Orange Notice” for warning on potential threats to public safety;
- The INTERPOL “Purple Notice” for information on modus operandi used by criminals.
To sustain the drive to prevent trafficking, and the law enforcement response of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking, the Department of Justice (DOJ) established regional, airport and seaport anti-trafficking task forces being supervised and supported by the IACAT, all headed by a DOJ Prosecutor:
- National Inter-Agency Task Force Against Trafficking (NIATFAT) based in Metro Manila, NCR;
- Region II Task Force Against Trafficking in Tugegarao City, Cagayan
- Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA) Task Force Against Trafficking in DMIA Clark, Pampanga
- Region III Task Force Against Trafficking in Angeles City
- Region IV-B Task Force Against Trafficking in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan
- Region V Task Force Against Trafficking in Legaspi City, Albay
- Region VII Task Force Against Trafficking in Cebu City, Province of Cebu
- Region VIII Task Force Against Trafficking in Tacloban City, Leyte
- Region IX Task Force Against Trafficking/Sea-Based Task Force Against Trafficking in Zamboanga City
- Region XI Task Force Against Trafficking in Davao City, Davao Oriental
- Bongao, Tawi-Tawi Task Force Against Trafficking in Tawi-Tawi
- Manila Harbor Task Force Against Trafficking in Manila North Harbor, Manila
- Ninoy Aquino International Airport Task Force Against Trafficking (NAIATFAT) in Terminals 1,2 and 3, Pasay City;
- Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) Task Force Against Trafficking in Cebu
- DOJ Task Force Against Trafficking in DOJ Main Office, Manila
For the establishment of the additional task forces and the IACAT Operations Center (OPCEN), the Presidential Task Force Against Illegal Recruitment (PTFAIR) was established through the efforts of DOJ-IACAT. This is envisaged to address the need for a centralized monitoring and data gathering of all trafficking in person and illegal recruitment related activities and concerns.
The PTFAIR was reactivated by virtue of Executive Order 41, which was signed into order by President Benigno S. Aquino III on April 29, 2012 to strengthen the government’s campaign against illegal recruitment and human trafficking. Falling under the supervision of the Vice President, who is concurrently the Presidential Adviser on Overseas Filipino Workers’ Concerns, the PTFAIR is seen to sustain a more focused, coordinated, and effective program of action to curb illegal recruitment.
The creation of the BI’s Travel Control and Enforcement Unit (TCEU) is principally mandated to monitor the strict implementation of the memorandum.
Arrest Operations (Foreign Nationals):
Peter William Cannel
Cannel was collared on November 2015 when police agents raided his rented apartment in Zamboanga del Sur for operating an online pornography site in the area.
Rescue of human trafficking would-be victims primarily in Southern Philippines who are taking the Sabah, Malaysia; Indonesia and Singapore as either point of destination of transit points.
Identification of transit or point of destination areas such as Sabah,Malaysia; Indonesia, and Singapore, and other destination countries in the Middle East.
Adulkarim Mohammad Majed
Lau Ngi Tiing
(from Sandakan, Sabah)
Arrested for illegally recruiting victims who were promised to be employed in UAE
Arrested during a recruitment agency raid in Metro Manila.
In cooperation with police authorities and other law enforcement agencies, POEA implemented suspension and/or closure of various recruitment agencies that were operating without the necessary license. Those agencies were illegally recruiting workers for Bahrain, Canada, Japan, Hong Kong, Korea, Malaysia, Middle East, New Zealand, and United Kingdom.
As to the task forces, the PCTC is a member-agency of the Region IX task force known as the Zamboanga Sea-Based Anti-Trafficking Task Force (ZSBATTF), one of the anti-trafficking task forces supervised and supported by the IACAT. The primary duty of ZSBATTF is to conduct intelligence, surveillance, and monitoring activities of trafficking operations within the Zamboanga International Port and Zamboanga International Airport.
The PCTC, through its active participation in the ZSBATTF, and in cooperation with other law enforcement agencies in Mindanao, rescued a total of 1,893 potential victims of TIP covering the period from January to December 2015.
From January to February 2016, the PCTC, through its active participation in the ZSBATTF, and in cooperation with other law enforcement agencies in Mindanao, rescued a total of 56 potential TIP victims in Zamboanga City.
CAMPAIGN AGAINST ILLEGAL RECRUITMENT AND TRAFFICKING OF MIGRANT WORKERS (CIDG OPLAN “PAGSISIKAP”)
(CY 2015 & January 2016 up to present)
TIP RECAPITULATION 2015 (PCTC-WMFO)
TIP RECAPITULATION 2016 (PCTC-WMFO)
Exactly a year ago from its implementation of the 1343 Action Line on Human Trafficking, which is on a 24/7 call basis, introduces this 1343 Website on Human Trafficking. This Website will complement the Action Line’s purpose in responding to requests for assistance, inquiries and referrals involving suspected human trafficking activities. It will fast-track the referral and follow-up of cases, efficiently direct immediate assistance to human trafficking victims and disseminate to bigger audience information on Human Trafficking.
Advocacy Campaign Against Trafficking In Persons - On May 5-8, 2015 PCTC-WMFO conducted an information drive on Human Trafficking and at the same time PCTC and SBATTF advocacy campaign in Zamboanga Sibugay PPO, Zamboanga del Sur PPO, and Zamboanga del Norte PPO. PCTC-WMFO Personnel initially coordinated with the respective Provincial Directors and PCR Officers. The attendees were representatives of the different stations in each of the PPO’s respective AOR. During the information drive on Human Trafficking and Advocacy Campaign, PCTC-WMFO exploited the visual aids and materials provided by the POEA such as leaflets and posters. Contained therein are some aspects that job seekers needed to know when applying abroad. Among the topics discussed were the following:
- Safest ways to get an overseas job
- To know if the agency is licensed and if Job order is from POEA
- Basic steps in applying/hiring for an overseas job
- Avail the POEA-GPB job placements
- Documents for registration of applicant workers
- How much to pay for placement fees
- Documentation costs and processing costs
- What to do if one gets hired abroad through the internet
- Direct hire fees
- OFW on vacation to the Philippines and back
- Family members visiting an OFW in his worksite
Workshop-Trainings on Trafficking in Persons (TIP) for New Investigators and Prosecutors – The workshops were in partnership with the U.S DOJ/OPDAT, the Department of Justice’s Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) and with the participation of the Philippine Society of Criminologists and Criminal Justice Professionals, Inc. (PSCCJP). Trainings aimed to provide TIP basic training on laws, agencies involved, and inter-agency protocols for new investigators and prosecutors of different regions. It also provided investigative techniques on criminal data analysis and profiling and lastly, the activity aimed to collect information in support of another U.S. DOJ/OPDAT program to touch base with accredited law and criminology schools and universities to enhance curriculum on TIP and other TNC’s investigations. The workshops were conducted in Manila on February 2015, Laguna on May 2015, and Legazpi City on August 2015.
WORKSHOP-TRAINING ON TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS FOR INVESTIGATORS, PROSECUTORS, AND THE ACADEME – Held at the Limketkai Luxe Hotel, Cagayan De Oro on 09 September 2015. The event is part of the ongoing series of workshops in partnership of the PCTC with US DOJ/OPDAT. The Center is tasked as co-organizer, coordinating partner, secretariat and resource speaker. It provided lecture on Best Practices on Investigating TIP in the Philippines.
Declaration against Human Trafficking signed at PH-Dutch Workshop - Manila Declaration was signed at the 1st International Dialogue on Human Trafficking committing themselves and their organizations to the fight against trafficking which was held in Manila, Philippines on June 2015. Over a hundred delegates, including 20 foreign diplomats and heads of various government agencies signed the said Declaration. The Manila Declaration was drawn up at a workshop preceding the signing ceremony. Participants in workshop came from various embassies in Manila as well as government agencies, non-government organizations (NGOs), an d the private sector. The 2-day dialogue was organized by the Netherlands Embassy in the Philippines and the Philippine Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking – Department of Justice (IACAT-DOJ).
15th Senior Officials’ Meeting on Transnational Crime (SOMTC) and Its Related Meetings – The PCTC was one of the Philippine Delegation in this meeting which was held in Siem Reap, Cambodia on 7 – 12 June 2015. In this meeting, the final version of the ACTIP and RPA was formally adopted for endorsement to AMMTC.
ASEAN Signed ASEAN Convention on Trafficking in Persons (ACTIP) - The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) signed the ASEAN Convention on Trafficking in Persons (ACTIP) after the ASEAN plenary session in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on November 21, 2015. The ACTIP addresses the issue of human trafficking, especially of women and children. The ACTIP establishes a legal framework for the region to effectively address the issue of trafficking in persons, demonstrating the political will and commitment of the ASEAN member-states in protecting victims of trafficking, as well as preventing and combating human trafficking within the region. The objectives of ACTIP include effectively preventing and fighting trafficking in persons, as well as ensuring just and effective punishment of traffickers. It also aims to protect and assist victims of trafficking in persons, with full respect for their human rights. It further promotes cooperation among the relevant parties to meet these objectives.
Plenary Session for the International Dialogue on Human Trafficking - The Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT), with the Embassy of the Netherlands in the Philippines, presided over the plenary meeting on February 23, 2016 to present the structure for the proposed technical working groups that will work on the recommendations presented during the 1st International Dialogue on Human Trafficking last June 2015. The meeting was attended by over fifty (50) participants from partner agencies, NGOs, and embassies.