PH gains 'good number' of convictions for trafficking cases in 2020 — IACAT | Inquirer News

PH gains ‘good number’ of convictions for trafficking cases in 2020 — IACAT

/ 05:10 PM July 30, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The country has achieved a “good number” of convictions for human trafficking cases for the first half of 2020, even with the community quarantine imposed since the middle of March amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to the government’s Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT).

Justice Undersecretary Emmeline Aglipay-Villar, undersecretary-in-charge of IACAT, noted that the number of convictions for human trafficking cases in the country has increased since 2005, when there were only seven convictions for such complaints.

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In 2019, there were a total of 76 convictions on such cases, while January to June 2020 saw convictions on 33 cases.

“As of this June, the middle of the year, we are in 33 convictions and this is considering that half of the year, we are under community quarantine, meaning there was a time that there were not any trials. So this is a good number at the half of the year already,” she said in a press conference on Thursday, coinciding the World Day Against Trafficking.

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Since 2005, there have been a total of 560 convictions for cases involving human trafficking, according to Villar.

The highest record so far was in 2018 which saw 122 convictions.

“This is the highest so far and the highest, in fact, compared to other countries. Whenever we state that in international conventions, everyone is shocked. That’s really a high number of convictions for trafficking in person cases,” said Villar.

She noted that several convictions for that year were made through plea bargaining, where an accused person will plead guilty to a lesser offense with the consent of the prosecutor.

Villar said this shows that plea bargaining is an effective way to achieve faster convictions.

“We have a lot of cases filed but it just gets stalled in court. It takes years and years before they get concluded. The plea bargaining agreement aids us in achieving faster convictions,” she also said.

Of the 560 convictions since 2005, 96 percent are related to sex trafficking, while four percent are linked to labor trafficking.

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Of the 1,256 victims, 1,175 or 93 percent are female, 81 or seven percent are male, and 715 or 57 percent are minors.

Of the 565 traffickers, 299 are female, 266 are male, 11 are children in conflict with the law, 25 are foreigners, and five are government officials.

According to Villar, Manila has recorded the highest number of convictions with 81, followed by Cebu City with 67, Angeles City with 41, Quezon City with 33, and Davao City with 22 convictions.

The official likewise noted that the country has maintained a Tier 1 status in the United States Trafficking in Persons Report since 2016.

A Tier 1 rating means that the Philippine government has fully met the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and has continuously demonstrated serious and sustained efforts to combat such crime.

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TAGS: Emmeline Aglipay-Villar, Human trafficking, Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (Iacat), World Day Against Trafficking
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