Monday, 18 April 2011
Trafficking in Persons Interim Assessment by the US Department of State-www.state.gov
Pursuant to section 110(b)(3)(B) of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (Div. A. of Public Law 106-386), as amended, the Secretary of State is required to submit to the Congress an Interim Assessment of the progress made in combating trafficking in persons (TIP) by those countries placed on the Special Watch List in September 2010. The evaluation period covers the six months since the drafting of the June 2010 annual report.
This year, 61 countries are on the Special Watch List. These countries either (1) had moved up a tier in the 2010 TIP Report over the last year’s Report; or (2) were ranked on Tier 2 in the 2010 TIP Report, but (a) had a very significant or significantly increasing number of trafficking victims, (b) had failed to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat TIP from the previous year, or (c) were placed on Tier 2 because of commitments to carry out additional future actions over the coming year, placing them on the “Tier 2 Watch List.” Fifty-eight of the 61 countries on the Special Watch List are in the second category, ranked as Tier 2 Watch List, including one country initially ranked as Tier 3 in the June 2009 TIP Report but reassessed as Tier 2 Watch List by the State Department in September 2009 (Swaziland). The Interim Assessment includes an overview of the tier process.
The Interim Assessment is intended to serve as a tool by which to gauge the anti‑trafficking progress of countries which may be in danger of slipping a tier in the upcoming June 2011 TIP Report and to give them guidance on how to avoid a Tier 3 ranking. It is a tightly focused progress report, assessing the concrete actions a government has taken to address the key deficiencies highlighted in the June 2010 TIP Report. The Interim Assessment covers actions undertaken between the beginning of May – the cutoff for data covered in the June TIP Report – and November. Readers are requested to refer to the annual TIP Report for an analysis of large-scale efforts and a description of the trafficking problem in each particular country or territory.
The Government of the Philippines demonstrated significant progress in combating trafficking in persons since the release of the 2010 TIP Report. Philippine prosecutors and NGO lawyers convicted nine sex trafficking offenders, with prison sentences ranging from six years to life imprisonment. The government, however, has yet to obtain a labor trafficking conviction since the 2003 anti-trafficking law’s enactment. In June, the Department of Justice ordered prosecutors to make trafficking cases a priority, and on October 26, the Supreme Court issued a circular calling courts to expedite the disposition of trafficking cases and requiring that cases be decided within 180 days of arraignment.
In September, prosecutors filed criminal charges against an immigration official for facilitating the departure of undocumented overseas Filipino workers headed for the Middle East. The case is still pending. The government has filed administrative charges against 19 immigration personnel accused of other acts of trafficking-related complicity. Criminal charges have yet to be filed. The government in July increased staffing of the inter-agency anti-trafficking task force at Manila’s international airport and assigned social workers to the task force to improve victim identification and assistance, resulting in several successful interceptions of suspected trafficking victims and the filing of four criminal cases. The government also established anti-trafficking air and seaport task forces in five additional regions. The National Bureau of Investigation increased staffing for its Anti Human Trafficking Division and created a new anti-TIP task force in Angeles City that arrested six traffickers in three successful raids in September. The Bureau of Immigration blocked the departure from the country of over 21,000 international airline passengers who were not properly documented and believed to be at risk for illegal recruitment and trafficking; 54 cases were referred to the airport anti-trafficking task force for further investigation. The Philippine Government increased training and public awareness efforts on trafficking, including for judicial officials, diplomats, civil society groups, and overseas foreign workers. In December, the Philippine Congress appropriated over $1 million in the 2011 national budget to, for the first time, fund the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking and the Department of Social Welfare and Development's anti-trafficking program
Source : US Department of State Website, 05 April 2010