‘Victory for all victims,’ say senators on amended human trafficking law
MANILA, Philippines — The signing into law of a measure to strengthen the country’s policies against human trafficking is “a victory for all women, children, and all victims of human trafficking,” two senators said on Wednesday.
“The signing of Republic Act No. 11862, which amends the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003, is an important and much-needed victory for women, children and all victims of human trafficking,” Senator Risa Hontiveros said in a statement.
“As the law’s sponsor in the Senate, I am thankful that RA 11862 will now provide a major boost to government efforts towards stopping human trafficking, prosecuting human traffickers, and helping trafficked persons recover and live better lives,” she added.
In lauding the measure’s enactment into law, Hontiveros dedicated this “triumph” to “women and minors who bravely shared with the public their ordeal as human trafficking survivors during the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality hearings on the ‘pastillas’ scam and the human trafficking rings in the Middle East.”
“Their courage and sense of justice made this new law possible,” she added.
Hontiveros likewise assured of her continued efforts to combat human trafficking in the country.
“Our vow to all of you remains: We will not stop until we have put an end to the scourge of human trafficking in the Philippines,” she said. “This new law is only the beginning. We will continue to expand efforts to protect women, children and other marginalized populations.”
For Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, the passage of the measure is “a major victory in the country’s effort to strengthen the crackdown on human trafficking as it now covers illegal adoptions, child laundering, and online sexual abuse and exploitation of children.”
The senator, in a statement, emphasized that the measure “is an important step forward” in protecting children, which he said were among the most vulnerable to human trafficking.
“Hindi na natin maaari pang pahintulutan na magpatuloy ang ganitong uri ng pagsasamantala at pang-aabuso sa ating mga kabataan. Patuloy nating isusulong ang kaligtasan ng mga kabataan laban sa anumang uri ng karahasan,” he said.
(We should not allow the persistence of this kind of exploitation and abuse of our youth. We continue advancing the safety of our youth against any kind of violence.)
Under the measure, which was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on June 23, law enforcers would be given additional tools for pursuing human traffickers, especially when violations involve internet and digital media use.
The amended law would also hold accountable internet intermediaries such as social media networks, banking, and e-commerce intermediates that allow human trafficking of victims. — Xander Dave Ceballos, INQUIRER.net intern
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