Marcos orders agencies to step up efforts vs human trafficking

PRESIDENT Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. has ordered an anti-trafficking inter-agency council and a presidential commission on organized crimes to harmonize efforts from both the government and private sector in combating human trafficking, which he said could compromise the country’s economy and national security.

The Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking and Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission must thwart the “business of human trafficking” with the private sector, he said during a meeting at the presidential palace, based on a statement from the Presidential Communications Office (PCO).

The PCO said it had been tapped to help the council in starting a communication campaign that will educate the public about the dangers posed by human trafficking syndicates.

“Heightened public awareness is key,” Mr. Marcos said.

Mr. Marcos said human traffickers exploit the physical and economic weaknesses of vulnerable people especially women and children.

He also said human trafficking has been an ongoing problem for many countries especially as the global economy recovers from the coronavirus pandemic, which has worsened the lives of many people.

He said jobless people are more vulnerable to human traffickers and it’s high time for the government to boost intervention.

“The room for improvement here is that we can work together more and coordinate together more and where — that puts meat on the bones of what we have come to call the whole-of-government approach and bring everything to bear to the problems that we are facing,” Mr. Marcos said.

He said it is unfortunate that the country had managed to repatriate human trafficking victims from Myanmar despite the ongoing civil unrest in that country.

He  cited the need for the Philippines to keep its status in the tier system and “we must make sure that we do not fall out of Tier 1 into another tier.” “Let’s…make sure that the Tier 1 categorization or status of the Philippines is not put in any danger.”

The US Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Office conducts a yearly assessment to monitor the efforts of all countries in fighting human trafficking. It provides each country with a grade according to a three-tier scale.  

Countries and territories under Tier 1 fully comply with the minimum standards, while those under Tier 2 do not but are making significant efforts to comply with the standards, according to the PCO. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza