The Philippine Star
Phl welcomes US recognition in fight vs trafficking
Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano yesterday welcomed the decision of the United States government to retain the Philippines in the Tier 1 premier status for its efforts to fight human trafficking.
“The 2018 Trafficking in Persons report that placed the Philippines in Tier 1 for the third consecutive year goes to show that the Duterte administration is doing the right thing,” Cayetano said in a statement.
“This affirmation strengthens our resolve to protect our people from trafficking by institutionalizing preventive measures, protecting vulnerable groups and bringing the traffickers and their accomplices to justice,” he added.
Cayetano, who was in the US when the report was released last Thursday, said the report validates the effectiveness of the holistic and aggressive approach taken by the Duterte administration to eliminate human trafficking in the country.
He vowed to continue intensifying its efforts in addressing trafficking in persons in cooperation with the US and the rest of the international community.
Philippine Ambassador to Washington Jose Manuel Romualdez said the State Department retained the Tier 1 status for the Philippines in recognition of the serious and sustained efforts of the Duterte administration to address human trafficking in the country.
According to him, the report cited, among others, the conviction of human traffickers and the effective coordination, identification, referral and provision of services to trafficking victims.
The envoy said the report also mentioned efforts to prevent trafficking of Filipino migrant workers, assist trafficking victims abroad and implement procedures to reduce backlog of trafficking cases in court.
“Being in Tier 1 for three consecutive years validates the effectiveness of our victimcentered and multi-agency approach to address human trafficking,” he said.
“It also speaks to the de- termination of the Philippine government to uphold and protect human rights,” he added.
The US State Department annually releases its Trafficking in Persons report as mandated by a law protecting victims of trafficking and violence.
The law 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.
There are four tier placements signifying level of compliance with US standards: Tier 1, full compliance; Tier 2, no full compliance but making significant efforts to comply with standards; Tier 2 Watchlist, no full compliance and absolute number of victims increasing and Tier 3, no full compliance, no significant efforts to comply.
The Philippines is one of the 39 countries that were given Tier 1 Status. Of the 189 countries evaluated, 81 were placed in Tier 2, 43 in Tier 2 Watchlist and 23 in Tier 3.
Those in Tier 3 may be barred from receiving nonhumanitarian and non-trade related foreign assistance from the US.