The US State Department recognized once again the gains of the Philippines in the fight against human trafficking as it kept the country’s rating at Tier 2 in the Global Trafficking in Persons (GTIP) Report for the fifth straight year.
The Tier 2 status officially recognizes a country's major efforts to adhere to the benchmarks prescribed by the US State Department in meeting the minimum standards.
Meanwhile, countries ranked under Tier 1 are those whose governments fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of severe forms of trafficking as provided by the 2000 Trafficking Victims Protection Act's (TVPA) of the United States. This is the highest ranking a country may receive.
The IACAT, chaired by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, said the latest rating given by the US State Department “is an apt recognition of the efforts of the members and partners of the government in the fight against the scourge of ‘modern day slavery’.”
“The Tier 2 ranking, the fifth in a row (2011-2015), reflects the collective strength of our entire nation, united in one common goal, to surely even though slowly, put an end to modern-day slavery and all forms of exploitation,” De Lima said.
The GTIP Report is the US government’s principal diplomatic tool to engage foreign governments on human trafficking. This is used to monitor anti-trafficking reforms and specify the needs required by a state in terms of prevention, protection, prosecution and partnership.
De Lima commended the individual achievements and collective efforts made by IACAT member agencies, allies from the civil society, partners in the government, and other stakeholders in the country’s fight against human trafficking.
“Our foreign partners have consistently cited our gains, and we will continue to persevere until we achieve Tier 1 status,” De Lima added.
Justice Undersecretary Jose Vicente Salazar, in-charge of IACAT, said the rating given by the US State Department is a “welcome feedback on the hard work by government and its stakeholders in combating human trafficking”.
“Our mandate is borne out of the responsibility of the government to protect its citizens,” Salazar said.
Salazar said one significant improvement in the 2015 TIP Report is the reduction of the recommended actions for the Philippine government.
He noted that in the previous year, the Report presented thirteen (13) recommendations, highlighting the areas where the government needed to improve.
In the latest GTIP Report, the recommended action plan showed nine (9) points, majority of which encourages the Philippine government to continue to implement existing programs and mechanisms to deal with the trafficking situation in the country, Salazar explained.
“We expect that this report will further fuel the campaign of the government against human trafficking and continue to advance our mandate to protect the Filipino people,” Salazar said.