According to the U.S. Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report for the year 2019, the Philippines is the only ASEAN country ranked in Tier 1. This means that the country fully meets the minimum standards of eliminating human trafficking in accordance with the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA).
What’s even more glorious? We have been ranked in Tier 1 for 4 years in a row! In fact, we’re the only Southeast Asian nation placed in the highest ranking since 2016. (Read full report here: Trafficking in Persons Report June 2019)
The achievement is attributed to the collective effort among the government agencies involved in the investigation and prosecution of traffickers, as well as the prevention of Filipino migrant workers from cross-border trafficking and illegal recruitment. Taking into account that the Philippines is a major labor-sending country in the region, a number of its citizens are susceptible to the transnational crime. Traffickers are even using social networking sites and digital platforms to entice vulnerable Filipinos, yet the government has been relentless in combating the menace.
Though a lot is still to be done, such as increasing awareness of the presence and adverse effects of online child pornography and sex tourism, and improving programs of reintegration and assistance of trafficking victims. Furthermore, we need to increase our efforts in saving Filipino families from poverty and social inequality, which are the common reasons that expose people to human trafficking to begin with.
Civilians have also played a role by disseminating caution against the crime in their communities and alarming authorities of criminal activities observed in their surroundings. Trafficking in persons is a country’s nemesis, but with the united effort of unselfish citizens and dedicated government it can be defeated. Let’s make it happen again in 2020 and the years to come, Kudos Pilipinas!