Justice Secretary Leila M. De Lima, Chairperson of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) announced yesterday the release of US State Department’s 12th Annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report which kept the Philippines in the Tier 2 Category.
In a statement released yesterday, De Lima said that Tier 2 status “is an important recognition of the country’s sustained and aggressive initiatives and programs to eliminate human trafficking. The Tier 2 status officially recognizes a country’s significant efforts to adhere to the benchmarks prescribed by the US State Department and meet the minimum standards.
Secretary De Lima said the TIP Report underscored several key achievements of the Philippine government in its drive to eliminate human trafficking.
“The Report recognized our government’s increased funding for its efforts in curbing the problem through its primary anti-human trafficking outfit, the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT),” Secretary De Lima said. A total of $1.5 million or almost P65 million was appropriated by the national government to support its operations against human trafficking, prosecution of offenders, and for the protection of the public from this global menace.
The Report likewise said that significant increase in the budget may be necessary to further the government's efforts in this area.
Other gains mentioned in the Report include the apprehension and filing of criminal and administrative charges against government personnel suspected of conniving with human trafficking syndicates or aiding their operations.
The Report also highlighted the continuing accomplishment of the government in prosecution and conviction of trafficking offenders as well as in helping victims.
The Report also lauded the importance placed by the Philippine government in training public officials particularly in establishing human trafficking indicators with reference to Filipino migrant workers’ pre-deployment overseas.
It also cited the cross-border efforts of the government to secure the interests and rights of overseas workers through bilateral agreements, particularly labor-related accessions with foreign countries.
Meanwhile, DOJ Undersecretary Jose Vicente B. Salazar and IACAT head, said that the gains cited by the US State Department Report highlight the effectiveness of the framework established by the government to respond to the unconventional Philippine setting in battling the global problem of human trafficking.
“Through IACAT and with the help of its partner agencies as well as like-minded non-government organizations and private entities, we were able to form a formidable and united front against human trafficking,” Undersecretary Salazar said.
Note: Tier Ranking Explained
Countries ranked under Tier 1 are countries whose governments fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of severe forms of trafficking as provided by the 2000 Trafficking Victims Protection Act’s (TVPA) of the United States. This is the highest ranking a country may receive.
Tier 2 countries are those whose governments are making significant efforts to bring themselves at par with those standards.
Tier 2 Watch List countries on the other hand are those which the absolute number of victims of severe forms of trafficking is very significant or is significantly increasing with no evidence of increasing efforts to combat severe forms of trafficking in persons from the previous year.
Lastly, Tier 3 ranking is given to countries whose governments do not fully comply with the minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so.
Last year, the Philippines was removed from the Tier 2 Watchlist.