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PBBM orders intensified effort against human trafficking to maintain US State Dept. Tier 1 Ranking

Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. wants the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) and other government agencies to intensify efforts against human trafficking and maintain the country’s Tier 1 ranking by the US State Department, an official of the Department of Justice (DOJ) said.

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.

In news forum in Quezon City on Saturday, DOJ Assistant Secretary Mico Clavano was asked about a particular document to be raised by the President during his attendance at the 43rd ASEAN Summit to be held in the first week of September in Jakarta, Indonesia, where human trafficking is expected to be tackled by the ASEAN leaders.

“Yes. We have given the President a situationer previously on the area of human trafficking and he understands very clearly the depth and how wide-spread this problem is,” said Clavano, who is part of the DOJ’s IACAT.

“In fact, he has given specific instructions to maintain our Tier 1 ranking. That means he will support all the facets and all the programs that the IACAT has already put in place and he would like to enhance those programs,” he added.

The IACAT issued recently the 2023 Revised Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking Guidelines on Departure Formalities for International-bound Filipino Passengers, which Clavano said could aid authorities fight human trafficking.

The revised guidelines are part of the efforts to maintain the country’s Tier 1 ranking, Clavano said.

“Although we have already been given the Tier 1 ranking for 2022, we felt we could further enhance our own operations against human trafficking,” he said.

“We have to understand that our population is a very migratory population. Around 10 percent of our population seeks to travel abroad and find their opportunities abroad and this is very specific to our country as opposed or as compared to other countries who have job opportunities where they are,” he added.

The solution is to establish or create more jobs in the Philippines, and to limit the opportunities for human trafficking, which are addressed by the 2023 guidelines.

Aside from issuing the 2023 revised guidelines, IACAT and the Justice Department are working with their ASEAN partners through coordination meetings and summits to strengthen cooperation against transnational crime. They also identified hotspots for human trafficking.

“So, the international nature or the cross-boundary or trans-boundary nature of the crime is something that we are really looking into and we engage with our counterparts from the different countries, the Foreign Affairs of the different countries, so we can gather the best practices and we can also keep up with the trends that are currently being seen in the trafficking industry or area,” Clavano said.

Among the identified hotspots for illegal trafficking for Filipinos include Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, and Laos, said the DOJ official. | PND

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