US honors Zamboanga city prosecutor
The US State Department has awarded a Zamboanga City prosecutor for her efforts to pursue cases against suspected human smugglers, Justice Undersecretary Jose Vicente Salazar said on Tuesday.
In a statement, Salazar said Assistant City Prosecutor Darlene Pajarito received the US State Department’s Global Trafficking in Persons’ Hero Award for handling the biggest number of successful prosecutions of human trafficking cases in the country.
“Prosecutor Pajarito serves as a shining example (and) a beacon of our perseverance to crush the evils of human trafficking,” the justice undersecretary said.
Awarded by Hillary
Salazar, who also chairs the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking in Persons (IACAT), said US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton presented the award to Pajarito at the 2011 Global Report on Trafficking in Persons held in Washington.
“Pajarito has worked tirelessly in the campaign against trafficking in persons while juggling an average caseload of more than 300 other criminal cases,” he said.
Salazar welcomed the improved ratings of the Philippines in the US human trafficking index, saying IACAT would launch “an even more serious and intensified campaign which would see the eradication of human trafficking in the country.”
“We salute all the nameless warriors against human trafficking and we will celebrate our modest gains,” he said.
Midas Marquez, Supreme Court spokesperson and administrator, also welcomed the country’s improved ratings in fighting human trafficking.
Marquez said the prosecution of trafficking cases improved since the high court directed all courts to expedite the proceedings regarding human smuggling cases.
“But, of course, we should continue. We cannot rest on those convictions. We should continue to be vigilant,” Marquez said.
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