MANILA, Philippines (Xinhua) — President Aquino vowed today to put an end to human trafficking in the country.
Mr. Aquino noted that while there are Filipinos still leaving for abroad to seek greener pastures, he said his administration will not let human traffickers victimize them.
The law against human trafficking will not be allowed to be corrupted by influential people, he said, adding that concerned government agencies have been instructed to work together to fight the menace.
The coordination between government agencies and non-government organizations have resulted to the removal of the Philippines from the Tier 2 Watch list of the 2011 Trafficking in Persons Report released by the United States government last month.
The report recognized the significant efforts being undertaken by the Philippine government to combat trafficking in persons such as the almost 200-percent increase in convictions of traffickers, including convictions for labor trafficking.
The country has started to make gains economically and Mr. Aquino said in the near future no underage Filipinos will be allowed to leave the country to work and become victims of human traffickers.
Many of those who were reported to have been victims of human trafficking were women who have been seeking jobs in other parts of the country or abroad.
The government and NGO estimates on the number of women trafficked range from 300,000 to 400,000 and the number of children trafficked range from 60,000 to 100,000. Many Filipino men and women voluntarily migrate to work abroad but later coerced into exploitative conditions.
How does the President propose to use human trafficking to justify curtailment of the right to travel?
The Bureau of Immigration through its Travel Control and Enforcement Unit (TCEU) disallowed the departure of some 32,038 Filipino travelers in the first half of this year.
to be continued…
Sec. 3 of R.A. 9208, the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003, defines trafficking in persons (TIP) as the recruitment, transportation, transfer or harboring, or receipt of persons with or without the victim’s consent or knowledge, within or across national borders by means of threat or use of force, or other forms of coercion, abduction, fraud. deception, abuse of power or the position, taking advantage of the vulnerability of the person, or, the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person for the purpose of exploitation which includes at a minimum, the exploitation or the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery, servitude or the removal or sale of organs.
The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of a child for the purpose of exploitation shall also be considered as “trafficking in persons” even if it does not involve any means set forth in the preceding paragraph.
In the same law, there are three punishable acts or categories of trafficking: 1. Acts of trafficking in persons; 2. Acts that promote trafficking in persons; and 3. Qualified trafficking.
What are considered acts of Trafficking in Persons?
- Recruiting, transporting, transferring, harboring, providing or receiving a person by any means for purposes of prostitution, pornography, sexual exploitation, forced labor, slavery, involuntary servitude or debt bondage;
- Introducing for money or other consideration, any Filipina to a foreigner as a possible spouse or to offer any Filipina to a foreigner as a prostitute;
- Offering or contracting marriage for purposes of acquiring, buying, offering, selling or trading a person to engage in prostitution, or other acts of exploitation;
- Undertaking or organizing tours and travel plans consisting of tourism packages for purposes of utilizing or offering persons for prostitution, pornography or sexual exploitation;
- Maintaining or hiring a person to engage in prostitution or pornography;
- Adopting or facilitating the adoption of persons for the purpose of prostitution or pornography;
- Adopting or facilitating the adoption of persons for the purpose of prostitution, pornography, sexual exploitation, forced labor, slavery, involuntary servitude or debt bondage;
- Recruiting, hiring, adopting, transporting or abducting a person, by means of threat or use of force, fraud, deceit, violence, coercion or intimidation for the purpose of removal or sale of organs; or
- Recruiting, transporting or adopting a child to engage in armed activities in the Philippines or abroad.
- Knowingly leasing or subleasing property for trafficking purposes;
- Producing, printing, issuing or distributing unissued, tampered or fake counseling certificates, registration stickers and other certificates of government used for regulatory and pre-departure requirements for the purpose of promoting trafficking;
- Advertising, publishing, printing, broadcasting or distributing, by any means, any brochure, flyer, or any propaganda material that promotes trafficking;
- Assisting in the conduct of misrepresentation or fraud for purposes of facilitating the acquisition of clearances and exit documents for the purpose of promoting trafficking;
- Facilitating, assisting or helping in the exit and entry of persons from/to the country at the international or domestic airports, territorial boundaries and seaports who are in possession of unissued, tampered or fraudulent travel documents for the purpose of promoting trafficking; or
- Confiscating, concealing, or destroying the passport, travel documents or belongings of trafficked persons, or preventing them from leaving the country or seeking redress from the government and appropriate agencies; or
- Knowingly benefitting from, financial or otherwise, or making use of, the labor or services of a person held to a condition of involuntary servitude, forced labor or slavery.
- The trafficked persons is below 18 years of age;
- The adoption is through the Inter Country Adoption Law and the adoption is for prostitution, pronography, sexual exploitation, forced labor, slavery, involuntary servitude, or debt bondage;
- The act is committed by a syndicate or in a large scale;
- The offender is an ascendant, parent, sibling, guardian or a person who exercises authority over the trafficked person, or when the offense is committed by a public officer or employee;
- The trafficked person is recruited to engage in prostitution for any member of the military or law enforcement agencies; or
- by reason or on the occasion of the act of trafficking, the offended party dies, becomes insane, suffers mutilation or is afflicted with HIV or AIDS.