MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines, for the second straight year, met the United States’ minimum standards against human trafficking, even as a case backlog and other problems persist.
The Philippines remains in Tier 1 of the US State Department’s annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report, which was released Tuesday, June 27, in Washington DC. (READ: U.S. lists China among worst human trafficking offenders)
Countries under Tier 1 “fully meet” the minimum standards “for the elimination of human trafficking” under the US Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000.
Tier 1 is the highest level. The year 2016 was the first time that the Philippines was classified under Tier 1.
Countries, in general, strive to get a good ranking in the TIP Report because the US uses it as a basis for granting aid.
“The government of the Philippines fully meets the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking,” said the 2017 TIP Report.
The report cited the Philippine government’s “serious and sustained efforts” to convict and punish more traffickers, identify more victims, and improve efforts to prevent the trafficking of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
The report added, “Although the government meets the minimum standards, it did not expand the availability and quality of protection and assistance services for trafficking victims, particularly mental health care and services for male victims.”
The TIP Report also said the Philippine government “did not vigorously investigate and prosecute officials allegedly involved in trafficking crimes” or “expand its pilot program to address the backlog of trafficking cases in the courts.”
Recommendations to the Philippines include “expanding access to mental health care and services for male victims,” and increasing efforts “to investigate and prosecute officials for trafficking and trafficking-related offenses.” – Rappler.com
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