Ladies and gentlemen.
The Philippines is honored to be able to stand in solidarity with the community of nations in the all-out war against human trafficking.
Like you, we are determined to defeat this enemy. We are aware that the enemy may seem formidable. It has vast financial, human and technological resources. But we believe that these are no match to the determination, courage and commitment of a people working together to bring this modern-day evil down on its knees.
And like you, our efforts have met with much success.
The US State Department has put the Philippines in the Tier 2 category in the Trafficking in Persons Report, recognizing the major efforts and the significant advances our country has made. Meanwhile, other members of the international community, during the recent UN General Assembly, have described the Philippines as a possible “model” in the war against human trafficking in our corner of the globe.
If there is one form of evil that has made a stakeholder out of every Filipino, that would be human trafficking. You see, our professional and skilled labor forces are present in many countries of the world, helping manage and run their industries, businesses and healthcare facilities. Many Filipinos aspire to become part of that overseas labor force.
Unfortunately, it is that very aspiration which has made them vulnerable to the deception of, and exploitation by, human trafficking syndicates.
This reality is the motivation behind one of the most powerful collaboration ever seen in our country --- the collaboration of government and private sector, between the Philippines and its international partners.
This collaborative effort is as crucial as it is important. After all, the crime of human trafficking is, as someone puts it, like “the murder of people’s dreams complex with the rape of human dignity”.
It is an exercise of justice, therefore, when a nation is strongly determined to help victims put the pieces back and regain their self-esteem and their faith in themselves that they can start all over again.
However, we are not about to rest on this bed of achievements. Much more need to be done.
We have several initiatives and projects designed to pave the way forward.
As I mentioned, the enemy may seem formidable; the task, daunting; the road ahead, littered with many challenges.
We are confident though that we shall overcome. Our efforts are resting on solid pillars. They have been tested and have proven their tensile strength.
Thank you, and may our common endeavor be crowned with success.