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.

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