The Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) is set to fortify the gains of the government against the elements of human trafficking as Malacanang signed Republic Act No. 10364 or the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012 into law last February 06, 2013, amending Republic Act No. 9208 or the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act.
Justice Secretary Leila M. De Lima, Chair of IACAT, said “the signing of the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012 will give the government a stronger weapon against human trafficking syndicates.”
Section 4-B of the new law included attempted trafficking in persons “where there are acts to initiate the commission of a trafficking-offense but the offender failed to or did not execute all the elements of the crime, by accident or by reason of some cause other than voluntary desistance, such overt acts shall be deemed as an attempt to commit an act of trafficking in persons.” Attempted trafficking carries with it a penalty of imprisonment of fifteen (15) years and a fine of not less than Five hundred thousand pesos (P500,000.00) but not more than One million pesos (P1,000,000.00).
Also included is the liabilities of accessories and accomplices of human trafficking activities. Accomplices are defined in this Act as those who knowingly aids, abets cooperates in the execution of the offense by previous or simultaneous acts. While accessories are those who has the knowledge of the commission of the crime, and without having participated therein, either as principal or as accomplices take part of its commission subject to specific acts stated in the law.
The law also amended the confidentiality clause barring any person, at any stage of the investigation, rescue, prosecution and trial of an offense, from giving out the name and personal circumstances of the trafficked person or any other information tending to establish the identity of the trafficked person and his or her family shall not be disclosed to the public. The amended law removed this confidentiality privilege on the part of the human trafficker/offender.
The amended law highlighted as well, the state’s exercise of jurisdiction over any acts of human trafficking even if committed outside the Philippines provided that the suspect or accused is a Filipino citizen, a permanent resident of the Philippines, or has committed human trafficking acts against the citizen of the Philippines.
“The signing of the law shows that the government, though IACAT, guarantees that it will be more determined and relentless in pursuing the mandate of its office,” added Undersecretary Jose Vicente B. Salazar, in-charge of the day-to-day operations of IACAT.