Review of human trafficking law urged
Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Friday called for a review of the law on antitrafficking in persons and the performance of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) in light of the tragic circumstances surrounding the conviction of Filipino maid Mary Jane Veloso.
“The case of Mary Jane Veloso serves as a rude awakening for all of us that despite our efforts, much remains to be done to combat all forms of human trafficking,” Marcos, chair of the Senate committee on local government, said in statement.
Convicted for smuggling over two kilograms of heroin in Indonesia, Veloso was due for execution along with eight other foreigners on Tuesday but got a last-minute reprieve to allow her to testify against a “perpetrator suspected of human trafficking.”
The reprieve came after Maria Kristina Sergio, the woman who allegedly recruited Veloso to work as a domestic helper abroad and tricked her into carrying the illegal drugs to Indonesia, voluntarily surrendered to Philippine authorities.
“We need to revisit our antitrafficking in persons law to find out if we need to improve its provisions and review the performance of the IACAT to determine if it’s in the side of implementation where our effort is lacking,” Marcos said.
He noted that based on the US state department’s Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report released on June 2014, the Philippines remains on Tier 2 classification.
In the TIP Report, the US Department of State places each country into one of three tiers based on their government’s efforts to comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking as found in the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA).
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