Graft in PH blocking bid vs trafficking, says exec | Inquirer News

Graft in PH blocking bid vs trafficking, says exec

/ 12:08 AM October 26, 2013

ILOILO CITY—Despite significant gains, the country’s fight against human trafficking is being hindered by government corruption, according to an official of an interagency task force against trafficking.

State Prosecutor Darlene Pajarito, operations monitoring executive officer of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT), said “corruption at all levels” affects the prosecution and conviction of traffickers.

“It’s a major roadblock. I’ve experienced so many frustrations because of that,” Pajarito told reporters here at the sidelines of a two-day media seminar on trafficking that ended on Thursday.


She said that while the current administration is trying to address corruption, law enforcers, prosecutors, judges and other government officials are not on the so-called “straight path” policy of the Aquino administration.


Addressing corrupt practices in the campaign against trafficking is essential to ensuring a higher rate of conviction of traffickers.

“We must convict people because [by doing so] we send a strong message,” Pajarito said.

The fight against human trafficking is a major program of the government.

Human trafficking involves the recruitment, transport and trade of persons for sexual exploitation, slavery or the removal of organs.

The Philippines was removed from the United States’ Trafficking in Persons (TIP) watch list in 2011 as a result of the heightened campaign and increased conviction of traffickers.
In the US State Department’s 13th annual TIP report released earlier this year, the Philippines maintained its Tier 2 status.

Countries under Tier 2 are those that do not fully comply with the minimum standards of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) but are making significant efforts to comply with the standards.


The highest rank is Tier 1, which lists countries that fully comply with the TVPA’s minimum standards.

The rate of conviction of traffickers from July 2010 to July this year has reached 80 and has involved 99 persons. This is higher than the rate of conviction from 2005 to June 2010, which reached only 29 and involved 30 persons.

Those convicted are facing imprisonment of up to 40 years and fines of up to P2 million.

Increased funds, more task forces and focus of government agencies, among others, led to the increased number of conviction, according to Pajarito.

Pajarito cited the need to heighten the campaign for public awareness on trafficking.

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She said those most vulnerable to become trafficking victims are the poor, victims of calamities in evacuation centers and those in tourism destinations.

TAGS: Graft, Regions, trafficking

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