The Philippines retained the top spot in the 2016 edition of the Global Slavery Index (GSI), citing that the country is making strong efforts against human trafficking despite having relatively less resources than wealthier countries.
The GSI underscored the efforts of the Philippine Government, tagging it as a regional leader in dealing with issues on modern-day slavery. Overall, the Philippines is ranked as 1st in Asia, 3rd in Asia-Pacific, and 29th globally out of 167 states based on government responses, on the existence of necessary laws, victim support, and application of labor standards to vulnerable populations.
In its country profile, the GSI referred to the efforts of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) in coordinating with all relevant government agencies in the recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration of modern slavery victims; the creation of Filipino Workers Resource Centres (FWRC) overseas to provide support to distressed Filipino workers; including “a raft of innovative measures to ensure overseas domestic workers are protected” with agencies such as the Philippines Overseas Employment Agency (POEA), Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) and the Bureau of Immigration (BI).
Darlene Pajarito, Executive Director of IACAT welcomed the recognition given by the report giving credit to the growing interest of all sectors to reach out and partner with the government to take on this advocacy.
“The report is a timely recognition of the efforts of the men and women who have been in the frontlines in our effort to rid the country of trafficking in persons,” she said.
The partnerships made by the Philippine government with the international community, other government agencies, non-government organizations (NGOs) and allies from civil society shows a strong political will in combating this form of abuse. This fact is well recognized in the report, highlighting the country’s spearheading of key international conventions and shared declarations against human trafficking.
“We must understand that the report also highlighted that most of our kababayans are at constant risk,” Pajarito added, alluding to the Prevalence Index Ranking of the country in the GSI. “With that in mind, we have to find ways to improve on what we have in place and make sure that our campaign against modern-day slavery remains a priority of the government,” she said.30