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PH retains highest anti-human-trafficking grade in latest US report

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The Philippines has retained its Tier 1 ranking in the 2019 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report of the United States, signaling Washington’s continued recognition of Manila’s anti-TIP efforts for four consecutive years.

“The Government of the Philippines fully meets the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. The government continued to demonstrate serious and sustained efforts during the reporting period, therefore the Philippines remained on Tier 1,” the 2019 TIP report said.

Washington attributed Manila’s retained ranking to its “robust efforts” to assist victims overseas and implementation of prosecution procedures that reduce the potential for further harm to child sex trafficking victims.

It recognized the Department of Foreign Affairs and the country’s social welfare and labor attaches for assisting 2,591 potential Filipino trafficking victims in the Middle East, Asia, and Europe, compared to the 1,476 potential victims in the preceding reporting period.

The report also acknowledged the Commission of Filipinos Overseas’ assistance to nine possible victims and response to 3,853 calls for help.

On prevention, it noted the National Bureau of Investigation and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration’s probe into 278 cases of alleged illegal recruitment and recommendation of 123 cases for filing in the courts.

During the reporting period, Washington cited at least 11 convictions compared with eight convictions in 2017.

In a statement, Philippine Ambassador to United States Jose Manuel Romualdez welcomed Washington’s continued recognition of Manila’s anti-TIP efforts.

“The Philippine Embassy in Washington, D. C. sustains its cooperation and engagement with US stakeholders in order to communicate our priorities, including the importance with which we consider the role of labor-receiving countries in the fight against human trafficking,” he said.

The report, released annually by the US Department of State since 2001, is mandated by the US Congress under Public Law 106-386, otherwise known as “Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act (TVPA) of the year 2000”.

The TVPA identifies minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking applicable to the government of a country of origin, transit, or destination for victims of severe forms of trafficking.

Of the four-tier placements signifying a country’s level of compliance with TVPA standards, Tier 1 or full compliance is the highest.

The Philippines was upgraded to Tier 1 in 2016 and has retained its ranking since then. (Joyce Ann L. Rocamora, PNA)

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