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US report gives PH highest ranking in fight against human trafficking

By: Wenilyn B. Sabalo - CDN Digital Multimedia Reporter | July 27,2022 - 12:31 PM

CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Philippines has maintained its Tier 1 ranking in a major anti-trafficking report released by the United States State Department last July 20, 2022.

This recent recognition placed the country among the “most exemplary” nations engaged in the fight against all forms of human trafficking worldwide.

In a statement, the International Justice Mission (IJM) Global Hub Against Online Sexual Exploitation of Children said that the 2022 Trafficking in Person (TIP) report of the U.S. has highlighted the various solutions the Philippine government and the IJM has undertaken to curb online sexual exploitation.

The Philippines “continued to demonstrate serious and sustained efforts … considering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its anti-trafficking capacity,” the 2022 TIP report said.

The 600-page report also highlights focus group discussions that were co-organized or supported by the Philippines’ Inter-Agency Council against Trafficking (IACAT) and IJM in order to solicit feedback from survivors, among other efforts, and commends the Philippines and the United Kingdom for being at the forefront of developing survivor-informed prevention and protection models.

In the same statement, the IJM said that the report also highlighted the advances in the use of financial and digital evidence and the trend towards plea bargaining in court cases, which reduces reliance on survivor testimony and expedites trials, significantly lowering the potential to re-traumatize children.

“We thank the U.S. State Department for acknowledging robust initiatives in the Philippines to combat trafficking in persons, including one of its darkest forms – the online sexual exploitation of children,” said Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) OIC-Executive Director Wendell P. Bendoval.

Bendoval said the country has received the TIP report’s highest ranking for seven years now “because of a collective effort between the government and like-minded partners” to deter human trafficking and hold perpetrators accountable.

“We are steadfast in our shared pursuit to end impunity for trafficking crimes,” he added.

The report praised the Philippines’ anti-trafficking initiatives, but it also urged more funding for initiatives that offer specialized care for children who have been the victim of online sexual exploitation.



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TAGS: Cebu Daily News, IJM, International Justice Mission

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