Marcos orders intensified efforts vs human trafficking — DOJ spox
MANILA, Philippines — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has ordered the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) and other law enforcement agencies to strengthen the country’s campaign against human trafficking to maintain its “Tier 1” ranking given by the United States.
In a weekly Saturday News Forum, Department of Justice (DOJ) spokesperson Mico Clavano said Marcos wanted to keep the country’s top status and has committed to supporting all facets of IACAT programs, which are already in place.
The president is scheduled to tackle the issue at the upcoming 43rd Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) in Jakarta, Indonesia, during the first week of September.
“Yes. We have given the President a situationer previously on the area of human trafficking, and he understands very clearly the depth and how widespread 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.
Last June 17, the US government hailed the country for maintaining its top status against human trafficking for eight consecutive years. A Tier 1 ranking in the trafficking report is given to countries that “fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and are actively working to address the issue.”
According to Clavano, the IACAT has already issued the 2023 Revised Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking Guidelines on Departure Formalities for International-bound Filipino Passengers, which he claimed would help law enforcers combat the issue.
He added that the agency has revised part of the guidelines to maintain the country’s Tier 1 ranking.
“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 to other countries who have job opportunities where they are,” he added.
In line with this, the DOJ official likewise disclosed that the guidelines seek to generate more jobs nationwide to limit the opportunities for human trafficking.