Oct 182014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2009/06/09STATE60453.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09STATE60453
2009-06-11 20:13
2011-08-30 01:44
UNCLASSIFIED
Secretary of State

VZCZCXYZ0000
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHC #0453 1622049
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 112013Z JUN 09
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO AMEMBASSY MANILA IMMEDIATE 0000
UNCLAS STATE 060453

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KTIP ELAB KCRM KPAO KWMN PGOV PHUM PREL SMIG RP
SUBJECT: PHILIPPINES — 2009 TIP REPORT: PRESS GUIDANCE AND DEMARCHE

REF: A. (A) STATE 59732
¶B. (B) STATE 005577

¶1. This is an action cable; see paras 5 through 7 and 10.

¶2. On June 16, 2009, at 10:00 a.m. EDT, the Secretary will
release the 2009 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report at a
press conference in the Department’s press briefing room.
This release will receive substantial coverage in domestic
and foreign news outlets. Until the time of the Secretary’s
June 16 press conference, any public release of the Report or
country narratives contained therein is prohibited.

¶3. The Department is hereby providing Post with advance press
guidance to be used on June 16 or thereafter. Also provided
is demarche language to be used in informing the Government
of Philippines of its tier ranking and the TIP Report’s
imminent release. The text of the TIP Report country
narrative is provided, both for use in informing the
Government of the Philippines and in any local media release
by Post’s public affairs section on June 16 or thereafter.
Drawing on information provided below in paras 8 and 9, Post
may provide the host government with the text of the TIP
Report narrative no earlier than 1200 noon local time Monday
June 15 for WHA, AF, EUR, and NEA countries and OOB local
time Tuesday June 16 for SCA and EAP posts. Please note,
however, that any public release of the Report’s information
should not/not precede the Secretary’s release at 10:00 am
EDT on June 16.

¶4. The entire TIP Report will be available on-line at
www.state.gov/g/tip shortly after the Secretary’s June 16
release. Hard copies of the Report will be pouched to posts
in all countries appearing on the Report. The Secretary’s
statement at the June 16 press event, and the statement of
and fielding of media questions by G/TIP,s Director and
Senior Advisor to the Secretary, Ambassador-at-Large Luis
CdeBaca, will be available on the Department’s website
shortly after the June 16 event. Ambassador de Baca will
also hold a general briefing for officials of foreign
embassies in Washington DC on June 17 at 3:30 pm EDT.

¶5. Action Request: No earlier than 12 noon local time on
Monday June 15 for WHA, AF, EUR, and NEA posts and OOB local
time on Tuesday June 16 for SCA and EAP posts, please inform
the appropriate official in the Government of the Philippines
of the June 16 release of the 2009 TIP Report, drawing on the
points in para 9 (at Post’s discretion) and including the
text of the country narrative provided in para 8. For
countries where the State Department has lowered the tier
ranking, it is particularly important to advise governments
prior to the Report being released in Washington on June 16.

¶6. Action Request continued: Please note that, for those
countries which will not receive an “action plan” with
specific recommendations for improvement, posts should draw
host governments’ attention to the areas for improvement
identified in the 2009 Report, especially highlighted in the
“Recommendations” section of the second paragraph of the
narrative text. This engagement is important to establishing
the framework in which the government’s performance will be
judged for the 2010 Report. If posts have questions about
which governments will receive an action plan, or how they
may follow up on the recommendations in the 2009 Report,
please contact G/TIP and the appropriate regional bureau.

¶7. Action Request continued: On June 16, please be prepared
to answer media inquiries on the Report’s release using the
press guidance provided in para 11. If Post wishes, a local
press statement may be released on or after 10:30 am EDT June
16, drawing on the press guidance and the text of the TIP
Report’s country narrative provided in para 8.

¶8. Begin Final Text of the Philippines, country narrative in
the 2009 TIP Report:

——————————–
PHILIPPINES (TIER 2 WATCH LIST)
——————————–
The Philippines is a source, transit, and destination country
for men, women, and children trafficked for commercial sexual
exploitation and forced labor. A significant number of
Filipino men and women who migrate abroad for work are
subjected to conditions of involuntary servitude in Bahrain,
Brunei, Canada, Cote d,Ivoire, Cyprus, Hong Kong, Japan,
Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Palau, Qatar, Saudi Arabia,
Singapore, South Africa, Taiwan, Turkey, and the United Arab
Emirates. Muslim Filipina girls from Mindanao were
trafficked to the Middle East by other Muslims.

Filipinas are also trafficked abroad for commercial sexual
exploitation, primarily to Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia,
Singapore, South Korea, and countries in Africa, the Middle
East, and Western Europe. Internally, women and children are
trafficked from poor farming communities in the Visayas and
Mindanao to urban areas such as Manila and Cebu City, but
also increasingly to cities in Mindanao, for commercial
sexual exploitation or for forced labor as domestic servants
or factory workers. An increasing number of women and
children from Mindanao were trafficked internally and
transnationally for domestic work. Traffickers used land and
sea transportation to transfer victims from island provinces
to major cities. A growing trend continued to be the use of
budget airline carriers to transport victims out of the
country. Traffickers used fake travel documents, falsified
permits, and altered birth certificates. Migrant workers
were often subject to violence, threats, inhumane living
conditions, non-payment of salaries, and withholding of
travel and identity documents. A small number of women are
occasionally trafficked from the People,s Republic of China,
Russia, South Korea, and Eastern Europe to the Philippines
for commercial sexual exploitation. NGOs suggested that
organized crime syndicates, including syndicates from Japan,
were heavily involved in Manila,s commercial sex industry,
where there are many domestic and some foreign victims of
trafficking. International organized crime syndicates also
transited trafficked persons from mainland China through the
Philippines to third country destinations. Child sex tourism
continues to be a serious problem for the Philippines, with
sex tourists coming from Northeast Asia, Australia, Europe,
and North America to engage in sexual activity with minors.

The Government of the Philippines does not fully comply with
the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking;
however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Despite
these overall efforts, the government did not show evidence
of progress in convicting trafficking offenders, particularly
those responsible for labor trafficking; therefore, the
Philippines is placed on Tier 2 Watch List. Although there
was an increase in the number of trafficking cases filed in
court, only four trafficking convictions were obtained under
the 2003 anti-trafficking law during the reporting period,
and there were no reported labor trafficking convictions,
despite widespread reports of Filipinos trafficked for forced
labor within the country and abroad. The number of
convictions for sex trafficking offenders is low given the
significant scope and magnitude of sex trafficking within the
country and to destinations abroad. Achieving more tangible
results in convicting trafficking offenders, and in
investigating and prosecuting officials complicit in
trafficking, is essential for the Government of the
Philippines to make more progress toward compliance with the
minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.

Recommendations for the Philippines: Significantly improve
efforts to prosecute, convict, and punish trafficking
offenders, including officials complicit in trafficking;
dedicate more resources to efforts to prosecute trafficking
cases; assess methods to measure and address domestic labor
trafficking; implement anti-trafficking awareness campaigns
directed at domestic and foreign clients of the sex trade in
the Philippines; dedicate increased funding for the
Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) and improve
anti-trafficking coordination between government agencies;
disseminate information on the 2003 law throughout the
country; and train law enforcement officers and prosecutors
on the use of the 2003 law.

Prosecution
———–
The Philippine government demonstrated sustained but
inadequate efforts to convict trafficking offenders during
the reporting period. The Philippines criminally prohibits
trafficking for both sexual and labor exploitation through
its 2003 Anti-Trafficking Persons Act, which prescribes
penalties that are sufficiently stringent and commensurate
with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape.
The government has convicted twelve individuals of
trafficking since the passage of this act, all for sex
trafficking offenses. During the reporting period four
individuals in three cases of sex trafficking were convicted
in Philippine courts; three of the convictions were a result
of cases filed and prosecuted by an NGO on behalf of victims
under an approach where the Philippines allows private
attorneys to prosecute cases under the direction and control
of public prosecutors. One convicted trafficker was
sentenced to life imprisonment, and the remaining three were
sentenced to 20 years, imprisonment, in addition to fines
and damages. In December 2008, after a four-year trial, a
judge acquitted an accused trafficker charged with
transporting minors from Mindanao to Manila with the intent
of forcing them into prostitution because the minors were
rescued before they were actually forced into prostitution.
The case is being appealed. NGOs report that an impediment
to successful trafficking prosecutions is the lack of
understanding of trafficking among judges, prosecutors, and
especially law enforcement officers, some of whom have
limited knowledge of using evidence to build cases. The
government did not convict any offenders of labor
trafficking during the reporting period. Philippine law
enforcement agencies reported 168 alleged trafficking cases
to the Department of Justice (DOJ) in 2008, of which
prosecutors initiated prosecutions in 97 of the cases, an
increase of more than 60 percent over the prior year. The
remaining cases remain under preliminary investigation or
were dismissed for lack of evidence or witnesses, or on other
grounds. In November 2008, the Philippine government
assisted Malaysian authorities in the case of a Singaporean
recruiter who allegedly trafficked Filipina women to Malaysia
for commercial sexual exploitation.

The government,s ability to effectively prosecute
trafficking crimes is severely limited by an inefficient
judicial system and endemic corruption. Despite a 2005
Department of Justice circular instructing that all
trafficking cases receive preferential attention, trials
often take years to conclude, because of a lack of judges and
courtrooms, high judge turnover, and non-continuous trials,
which cause some victims to withdraw their testimony.
Prosecutors with the DOJ,s Anti-Trafficking Task Force
handle trafficking cases along with many other types of
cases, but receive special training to handle trafficking
cases. A high vacancy rate among judges significantly slowed
trial times further. In 2008, the Philippine Overseas
Employment Agency (POEA) filed 318 administrative cases
against licensed labor recruiters who used fraudulent and
deceptive offers to entice job seekers abroad or imposed
inappropriately high or illegal fees on prospective
employees. There were seven convictions under the illegal
recruitment law in 2008.

Corruption among law enforcement agents remained pervasive,
and some law enforcement and immigration officers were
complicit in trafficking and permitted organized crime groups
involved in trafficking to conduct their illegal activities.
It is widely believed that some government officials were
directly involved in or profited from trafficking operations
within the country. Law enforcement officers often extracted
protection money from illegitimate businesses, including
brothels, in return for tolerating their operation. During
the reporting period, there were several reports of
immigration officials involved in the trafficking of
Filipinos overseas. The government conducted investigations
during the year into official complicity or involvement in
trafficking, but cases were still pending. The government
did not prosecute or convict any officials for
trafficking-related corruption during the reporting period.
In September 2008, an Immigration officer was apprehended for
her alleged role in aiding the trafficking of 17 Mindanao
children to Syria and Jordan, but charges against her were
dropped due to insufficient evidence. The 2005 case of
police officer Dennis Reci, charged for allegedly trafficking
minors for commercial sexual exploitation at his night club
in Manila, was still pending in early 2009.

Protection
———-
The Philippines government continued to provide support
services to victims of human trafficking, including through
sustained partnerships with NGOs and international
organizations. Police sometimes brought charges of vagrancy
against victims, despite laws that seek to ensure that
victims are not penalized for crimes related to acts of
trafficking. The government actively encouraged victims to
assist in the investigation and prosecution of trafficking
and related crimes, but the financial and emotional costs of
prolonged and delayed court proceedings, which may take place
in other provinces, often deterred victims from doing so.
Fear of retaliation by their traffickers sometimes led
victims to recant their testimony. Although the government
offered victims modest protection from reprisals and economic
dislocation, a lack of funding and awareness prevented
victims from being offered more effective incentives for
assisting in prosecutions of trafficking offenders. The
government provides temporary residency status, relief from
deportation, shelter, and access to legal, medical, and
psychological services to trafficking victims. The
Department of Social Welfare and Development operated 42
temporary shelters for victims of all types of crimes
throughout the country that were available to trafficking
victims. The Philippine Ports Authority provided buildings
and amenities at halfway houses for trafficking victims at
seven ports, which were managed by an NGO. The Manila
International Airport Authority and a partner NGO opened a
halfway house at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in
¶2008. The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) extended
assistance to Philippine citizens trafficked abroad and
managed repatriations. The Department of Labor and
Employment (DOLE) deployed 40 labor attaches who served in
embassies around the world to help protect migrant workers.
DOLE operated 20 Filipino Worker Resource Centers in 17 key
labor destination countries, providing services and shelter
to Filipinos who have suffered abuse or trafficking
conditions. In addition, DOLE,s Overseas Workers Welfare
Administration (OWWA) continued to send welfare officers
abroad to support the work of labor attaches. The IACAT
released a manual on the recovery and reintegration of
trafficking victims and developed national performance
standards for government handling of cases of violence
against women, including trafficking.

Prevention
———-
The Philippine government demonstrated continued efforts to
raise awareness and prevent trafficking in persons, mainly
for migrant workers, during the reporting period. In 2008,
POEA conducted 1,250 pre-employment orientation seminars for
over 60,000 departing overseas Filipino workers and trained
approximately 130 local government units on how to identify
warning signs of illegal recruitment and human trafficking,
representing a significant increase over the number of local
government units trained in 2007. POEA also trained
diplomatic staff and overseas labor and social welfare
officers in methods for assisting trafficking victims abroad.
Since its establishment in 2004, the government has not
provided funding to IACAT. While lacking a substantial
budget, the IACAT cooperated with NGO anti-trafficking
initiatives, including a road-show campaign against human
trafficking in Mindanao. IACAT continued to support the
creation of local IACAT councils and created model
anti-trafficking local ordinances. The government continued
to turn over suspected U.S. citizen child sex tourists to the
U.S. government for prosecution in the United States. The
government did not make any efforts to reduce the demand for
child sex tourism. Prior to deployment of troops for
peacekeeping operations, the Department of National Defense
and the Philippine National Police conducted seminars and
training for peacekeepers, including a training module on
trafficking. The government routinely provided training on
anti-trafficking and victim protection to personnel bound for
overseas assignments. In 2008, DFA, with support from an
international NGO developed a computer-based,
anti-trafficking course that trained 350 foreign service
officers. The government did not make any other efforts to
reduce the demand for commercial sex acts in the Philippines,
despite the country,s thriving commercial sex industry; nor
did the government take discernable steps to address the
demand for forced labor.

¶9. Post may wish to deliver the following points, which offer
technical and legal background on the TIP Report process, to
the host government as a non-paper with the above TIP Report
country narrative:

(begin non-paper)

— The U.S. Congress, through its passage of the 2000
Trafficking Victims Protection Act, as amended (TVPA),
requires the Secretary of State to submit an annual Report to
Congress. The goal of this Report is to stimulate action and
create partnerships around the world in the fight against
modern-day slavery. The USG approach to combating human
trafficking follows the TVPA and the standards set forth in
the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in
Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the
United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized
Crime (commonly known as the “Palermo Protocol”). The TVPA
and the Palermo Protocol recognize that this is a crime in
which the victims, labor or services (including in the “sex
industry”) are obtained or maintained through force, fraud,
or coercion, whether overt or through psychological
manipulation. While much attention has focused on
international flows, both the TVPA and the Palermo Protocol
focus on the exploitation of the victim, and do not require a
showing that the victim was moved.

— Recent amendments to the TVPA removed the requirement that
only countries with a “significant number” of trafficking
victims be included in the Report. Beginning with the 2009
TIP Report, countries determined to be a country of origin,
transit, or destination for victims of severe forms of
trafficking are included in the Report and assigned to one of
three tiers. Countries assessed as meeting the “minimum
standards for the elimination of severe forms of trafficking”
set forth in the TVPA are classified as Tier 1. Countries
assessed as not fully complying with the minimum standards,
but making significant efforts to meet those minimum
standards are classified as Tier 2. Countries assessed as
neither complying with the minimum standards nor making
significant efforts to do so are classified as Tier 3.

— The TVPA also requires the Secretary of State to provide a
“Special Watch List” to Congress later in the year.
Anti-trafficking efforts of the countries on this list are to
be evaluated again in an Interim Assessment that the
Secretary of State must provide to Congress by February 1 of
each year. Countries are included on the “Special Watch
List” if they move up in “tier” rankings in the annual TIP
Report — from 3 to 2 or from 2 to 1 ) or if they have been
placed on the Tier 2 Watch List.

— Tier 2 Watch List consists of Tier 2 countries determined:
(1) not to have made “increasing efforts” to combat human
trafficking over the past year; (2) to be making significant
efforts based on commitments of anti-trafficking reforms over
the next year, or (3) to have a very significant number of
trafficking victims or a significantly increasing victim
population. As indicated in reftel B, the TVPRA of 2008
contains a provision requiring that a country that has been
included on Tier 2 Watch List for two consecutive years after
the date of enactment of the TVPRA of 2008 be ranked as Tier
¶3. Thus, any automatic downgrade to Tier 3 pursuant to this
provision would take place, at the earliest, in the 2011 TIP
Report (i.e., a country would have to be ranked Tier 2 Watch
List in the 2009 and 2010 Reports before being subject to
Tier 3 in the 2011 Report). The new law allows for a waiver
of this provision for up to two additional years upon a
determination by the President that the country has developed
and devoted sufficient resources to a written plan to make
significant efforts to bring itself into compliance with the
minimum standards.

— Countries classified as Tier 3 may be subject to statutory
restrictions for the subsequent fiscal year on
non-humanitarian and non-trade-related foreign assistance
and, in some circumstances, withholding of funding for
participation by government officials or employees in
educational and cultural exchange programs. In addition,
the President could instruct the U.S. executive directors to
international financial institutions to oppose loans or other
utilization of funds (other than for humanitarian,
trade-related or certain types of development assistance)
with respect to countries on Tier 3. Countries classified as
Tier 3 that take strong action within 90 days of the Report’s
release to show significant efforts against trafficking in
persons, and thereby warrant a reassessment of their Tier
classification, would avoid such sanctions. Guidelines for
such actions are in the DOS-crafted action plans to be shared
by Posts with host governments.

— The 2009 TIP Report, issuing as it does in the midst of
the global financial crisis, highlights high levels of
trafficking for forced labor in many parts of the world and
systemic contributing factors to this phenomenon: fraudulent
recruitment practices and excessive recruiting fees in
workers, home countries; the lack of adequate labor
protections in both sending and receiving countries; and the
flawed design of some destination countries, “sponsorship
systems” that do not give foreign workers adequate legal
recourse when faced with conditions of forced labor. As the
May 2009 ILO Global Report on Forced Labor concluded, forced
labor victims suffer approximately $20 billion in losses, and
traffickers, profits are estimated at $31 billion. The
current global financial crisis threatens to increase the
number of victims of forced labor and increase the associated
“cost of coercion.”

— The text of the TVPA and amendments can be found on
website www.state.gov/g/tip.

— On June 16, 2009, the Secretary of State will release the
ninth annual TIP Report in a public event at the State
Department. We are providing you an advance copy of your
country’s narrative in that report. Please keep this
information embargoed until 10:00 am Washington DC time June
¶16. The State Department will also hold a general briefing
for officials of foreign embassies in Washington DC on June
17 at 3:30 pm EDT.

(end non-paper)

¶10. Posts should make sure that the relevant country
narrative is readily available on or though the Mission’s web
page in English and appropriate local language(s) as soon as
possible after the TIP Report is released. Funding for
translation costs will be handled as it was for the Human
Rights Report. Posts needing financial assistance for
translation costs should contact their regional bureau,s EX
office.

¶11. The following is press guidance provided for Post to use
with local media.

Q1: Why was the Philippines downgraded to Tier 2 Watch List?

A: The Government of the Philippines does not fully comply
with the minimum standards for the elimination of
trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do
so. Despite these overall efforts, the government did not
show evidence of progress in convicting trafficking
offenders, particularly those responsible for labor
trafficking; therefore, the Philippines is placed on Tier 2
Watch List. Although there was an increase in the number of
trafficking cases filed in court, only four trafficking
convictions were obtained under the 2003 anti-trafficking law
during the reporting period, and there were no reported
labor trafficking prosecutions or convictions, despite
widespread reports of Filipinos trafficked for forced labor
within the country and abroad. The low number of
convictions for sex trafficking offenders is also inadequate
given the significant scope and magnitude of sex trafficking
within the country and to destinations abroad.

Q2: What progress has the Philippines made in the past year?

A: The Philippines government continued to provide support
services to victims of human trafficking, including through
sustained partnerships with NGOs and international
organizations. The Manila International Airport Authority
and a partner NGO opened a halfway house at the Ninoy Aquino
International Airport in 2008. The Department of Foreign
Affairs (DFA) continued to assist Philippine citizens
trafficked abroad and managed repatriations. The Department
of Labor and Employment (DOLE) deployed 40 labor attaches who
served in embassies around the world to help protect migrant
workers. DOLE operated 20 Filipino Worker Resource Centers
in 17 key labor destination countries, providing services and
shelter to Filipinos who have suffered abuse or trafficking
conditions. The Philippine government also demonstrated
continued efforts to raise awareness and prevent trafficking
in persons, mainly for migrant workers, during the reporting
period.

Q3: What efforts could the Philippines make to improve its
fight against trafficking in persons?

A: The Government of the Philippines could: significantly
improve efforts to prosecute, convict, and punish trafficking
offenders, including officials complicit in trafficking;
dedicate more resources to efforts to prosecute trafficking
cases; assess methods to measure and address domestic labor
trafficking; implement anti-trafficking awareness campaigns
directed at domestic and foreign clients of the sex trade in
the Philippines; dedicate increased funding for the
Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) and improve
anti-trafficking coordination between government agencies;
disseminate information on the 2003 law throughout the
country; and train law enforcement officers and prosecutors
on the use of the 2003 law.

¶12. The Department appreciates posts, assistance with the
preceding action requests.
CLINTON

   

 

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