Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Government works for minimum compliance in campaign against human trafficking

Business Mirror
Wednesday, 03 August 2011 21:02 Mia Gonzalez / Reporter

MALACAƑANG said on Wednesday that it is “working overtime” to comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of human trafficking, which it hopes would be enough to upgrade the Philippines’ ranking to Tier 1 in the global fight against the menace.

President Aquino made the commitment at the ceremony to hand over the petition to stop trafficking of children and young people—signed by some 470,000 Filipinos—at the MalacaƱang Heroes’ Hall, where he said he is working hard to improve the economy to make Filipinos less vulnerable to human-trafficking syndicates.

“I assure all of you that we will not cease in our efforts and that the Philippines will put in extra hours to make certain that we comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, so that we may rise to another tier,” he said.

The President said the human-trafficking situation in the country “is getting a bit better,” as shown by the recognition it received from the United States, which upgraded the Philippines from its Tier 2 Watch list to its Tier 2 list in the US 2011 Trafficking in Persons Report.

He assured those who attended the ceremony that the Philippines supports their advocacies.

“We are, and we will continue to fulfill the implementation of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act to prevent human trafficking, and to provide protection and services to those who’ve already been victimized,” he said, adding that his administration has convicted 32 human traffickers in just a year, and “filed cases against many more.”

The President said that Filipino children seem to be prone to being trafficked because about 20 percent of country’s population live below the poverty line, which is why “the first part of my platform deals with job generation and we have been making significant inroads.”

“We have to improve the economy, make them less vulnerable. The economy provides us the resources to hire more personnel to go after all of these people who would seek to prey on the most vulnerable sectors,” he said.

Ecpat (End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and the Trafficking of children for sexual purposes) International, through its chairman Amihan Abueva, urged the President to develop sustainable and comprehensive community-based prevention programs aimed at the most vulnerable groups; allocate funding for the effective implementation of interventions and strengthen the capacity of social service providers.

Ecpat also urged the President to intensify specific programs for the recovery and reintegration of children victims of sex trafficking.