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BI hails RP’s Tier 1 status retention

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THE Philippines has once again been recognized for its unwavering commitment in combatting trafficking by the United States government.

Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioner Norman Tansingco said his office has received information that the country has maintained its Tier 1 status for the eighth consecutive year in the US State Department’s 2023 Trafficking in Persons Report. Also tagged as Tier 1 are Australia, Canada, France, Singapore, United Kingdom, and the USA.

The BI, as an active member of the DOJ-led Inter-Agency Council against Trafficking (IACAT), has played a crucial role in strengthening efforts to protect overseas Filipinos from the threat of human trafficking and labor exploitation abroad.

Tansingco expressed the agency’s dedication to safeguarding the welfare of Filipinos. He stated, “We will continue to protect our kababayans from this modern day slavery,” he said.

He added: “The Bureau of Immigration remains steadfast in its commitment to fighting this crime and ensuring the safety and well-being of our citizens abroad.”

The report acknowledges the Philippine government’s serious and sustained efforts in combating human trafficking, amidst the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Tier 1 ranking is the highest classification given by the US State Department, indicating that a country fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is actively working to address the issue.

It reflects the Philippines’ commitment to preventing human trafficking, prosecuting offenders, and protecting victims.

In recent years, the BI has intensified its collaboration with relevant agencies and international partners to combat trafficking. Through the IACAT, the bureau works closely with law enforcement agencies, non-governmental organizations, and other stakeholders to formulate and implement comprehensive anti-trafficking strategies.

Recently, the BI was the first to raise its alarm against a human trafficking scheme that victimized Filipinos, enticing them to work in pseudo-call centers abroad, only to end up trafficked in a crypto scam ring.

“This citation is a result of the joint effort of all members of the IACAT, which has been very active in combatting trafficking in all fronts,” Tansingco said. “Despite the challenges, we will remain vigilant against new forms of trafficking targeting vulnerable Filipinos,” he added.

Itchie G. Cabayan
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