The Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) urged local government units to address the issue of human trafficking head on using their respective law-making powers. As the country’s primary governing body against trafficking in persons, IACAT is asking incumbent local government executives to create an ordinance to localize the implementation of the principal laws against human trafficking.
The ordinance must be based primarily from Republic Act 9208 as amended by Republic Act 10364 or the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act. Justice Secretary Leila M. De Lima, chairperson of IACAT, stated that the creation of such local legislation empowers LGUs to attend to the problem of human trafficking, from the provincial level down to the barangays.
A high level delegation of anti-human trafficking experts from the Netherlands will be meeting with their counterparts from the Philippines’ Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking in Persons (IACAT) in Manila this month, to further strengthen the cooperation of the two countries against trafficking in persons.
This is in line with the mandate of IACAT to enhance cooperative efforts and mutual assistance with foreign countries through bilateral and/or multilateral arrangements to prevent and suppress international trafficking in persons. It builds on the two countries’ history of joint action on anti-human trafficking issues, which included an IACAT-led mission to Netherlands in 2012.
The Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) sternly warned the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and other groups involved in armed hostilities to stop recruiting teens as part of their ranks. Else, they will be held liable for human trafficking charges with the highest possible penalties imposed by the law.
Justice Secretary Leila M. De Lima, chairperson of IACAT, expressed alarm over reports of teenagers, as young as 15-16 years old, being among the casualties in the recent skirmishes between the government forces and insurgents in Mindanao.
The enactment of RA 10364, otherwise known as the Expanded Human Trafficking Act of 2013, has given more teeth to the Philippine campaign to eradicate the evils of human trafficking. The expanded RA has included the mere attempt to traffic as a punishable offense, whereas previously, exploitative purposes must first be settled before an offender is punished. Barely a year after the passage of the expanded law, a first conviction for attempted trafficking was recorded.
Last December, a Regional Trial Court judge in Davao City handed the first conviction for Attempted Qualified Trafficking in Persons. Presiding Judge Salvador Ibarreta, Jr. of RTC Branch 8 of Region 11 granted the plea of the accused, Frederick Apique, to a lesser offense of Attempted Qualified Trafficking under Section 4(a) of Republic Act 9208 as amended by Republic Act No. 10364.
The Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) issued a stern warning against firecracker factories using children as workers in their operations, stating that the operators and handlers of these shops will be dealt with the full force of the law.
IACAT also urged local government units, down to the barangay level, to adopt measures to make sure that no children will be exploited as laborers in the hazardous manufacturing of firecrackers, which poses grave danger from accidents and also exposes workers to health problems.
Justice Secretary Leila M. De Lima, Chairperson of IACAT, emphasized the role of the local government units in monitoring these incidents of child labor especially in small shed operations that springs up in bunches when the holiday season approaches.
Esteemed leaders of faith-based communities, honoured allies in the struggle against human trafficking
Sisters and brother’s, ladies and gentlemen:
I am privileged to welcome you and greet you this afternoon, as we remark the 13th year of the signing of the Palermo Protocol against Trafficking in Persons; and I must say that I am awed by this inspiring spectacle. It is overwhelming to see a gathering of what we may call the willing ones: those who, regardless of differences in their beliefs and convictions, now pray as one believing people for our country, resolved to fight as one against the menace that is corrupting our society today, which is human trafficking.
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