Oct 042014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2009/03/09MANILA444.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09MANILA444
2009-03-02 08:30
2011-08-30 01:44
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Embassy Manila

VZCZCXRO6338
OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDE RUEHDH RUEHDIR RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #0444/01 0610830
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 020830Z MAR 09
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3340
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEAHLC/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHZM/GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO IMMEDIATE 3669
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG IMMEDIATE 5037
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING IMMEDIATE 6503
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW IMMEDIATE 0601
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 18 MANILA 000444

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

STATE FOR G/TIP, G-ACBLANK, EAP/MTS, EAP/RSP, INL, DRL, PRM, IWI
LABOR FOR ILAB
JUSTICE FOR CIVIL RIGHTS DIVISION AND CRIMINAL DIVISION
DHS FOR ICE, CBP

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KTIP ASEC ELAB KCRM KFRD KWMN PHUM PREF SMIG RP

SUBJECT: PHILIPPINES: INPUT FOR THE 2009 TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS REPORT

REF: A. STATE 132759 (PREPARING THE NINTH ANNUAL TIP REPORT)
¶B. 08 MANILA 2366 (ZAMBOANGA COURT CONVICTS HUMAN TRAFFICKER)
¶C. 08 MANILA 2324 (MANILA AIRPORT OPENS NEW SHELTER FOR TRAFFICKING
VICTIMS)
¶D. 08 MANILA 1563 (FIRST TIP CONVICTION IN 2008)
¶E. 08 MANILA 951 (STRENGTHENING PARTNERSHIPS TO COMBAT TIP)
¶F. 08 MANILA 333 (ANTI-TRAFFICKING EFFORTS IN MINDANAO)

¶1. (U) This cable includes the Mission’s input for the 2008
Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report. The information and statistics
cover the period from March 2008 to February 2009, unless otherwise
noted. The Mission’s TIP point of contact is Political Officer
Michael Pignatello, PignatelloMX@state.gov, tel. (+63)(2) 301-2350,
fax (+63)(2) 301-2472. Rank of TIP action officer is FS-03.
Estimated completion time for report: SFS officer: 2 hours; FS-01
officers: 2 hours; FS-02 officers: 8 hours; FS-03 officers: 45
hours; FSN: 60 hours.

————————————
OVERVIEW OF THE COUNTRY’S ACTIVITIES
————————————

¶2. (SBU) The answers below are keyed to the format contained in ref
A, para 23:

¶A. SOURCES OF INFORMATION: The Philippine government has no central
database of trafficking information, but there are plans to
introduce one in 2009. Various government agencies and
non-governmental organizations currently document cases of TIP
generated from case studies, the number of beneficiaries of programs
extended to trafficking victims, and actual cases filed or incidents
reported to law enforcement agencies. UNICEF supported the
government’s Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking in Persons
(IACAT) in its plans to create a database to unify all the data
maintained by the different government agencies. During the
reporting period, IACAT and its partner agencies consolidated
efforts toward the completion of the database, which is expected to
be fully operational by June 2009.

Sources of information in the preparation of this report include the
following Philippine government agencies: the Department of Foreign
Affairs (DFA); the Department of Justice (DOJ); the Department of
Social Welfare and Development (DSWD); the Department of Labor and
Employment (DOLE); the Department of Interior and Local Government
(DILG); the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI); the Bureau of
Immigration (BI); the Philippine National Police (PNP); the
Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA); and the National
Commission on the Role of Filipino Women (NCRFW). The following
NGOs also provided significant input: the Visayan Forum Foundation
(VFF); The Asia Foundation (TAF); International Justice Mission
(IJM); Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, Asia Pacific
(CATW-AP); and the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP).
Some information stemmed from media reports.

¶B. TRAFFICKING OVERVIEW:

The Philippines is primarily an origin, and to a lesser extent, a
destination and transit country of men, women, and children
trafficked internationally for sexual exploitation and forced labor.
In a 2006 United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) report
on global patterns of trafficking, the Philippines ranked “high” in
the citation index as a country of origin of trafficked persons.
Trafficking also occurs within the country’s borders. Estimates of
various non-government and international organizations vary
significantly — some putting the number of Philippine citizens
trafficked internally, into Southeast Asia, and beyond, at thousands
each year. Aside from working in the commercial sex industry, many
trafficked persons work as domestic servants, as well as in unsafe
and exploitative industries as forced labor.

Foreign trafficking rings brought the victims to destinations
throughout Asia, Europe, the Middle East, North America, and Africa.
In 2008, foreign service posts of the Philippine Department of
Foreign Affairs reported that the majority of trafficking victims
rescued were from Malaysia and Singapore, while a smaller number of

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victims were rescued from Brunei, Hong Kong, Lebanon, Saipan, South
Africa, Thailand, and United Arab Emirates. The Philippines was
only occasionally a destination point for internationally trafficked
individuals. Anecdotal reports indicated evidence of trafficking of
women into the Philippines from China, Eastern Europe, and Russia
for the purpose of sexual exploitation. International organized
crime gangs also transited trafficked persons from mainland China
through the Philippines to third country destinations.

Women face a far greater risk of becoming victims of trafficking
than men, and girls are more at risk than boys. Trafficking in
children is generally internal: children and young women from poor
farming communities in the Visayas (the central Philippines) and
Mindanao (the southern Philippines) are brought to major urban
centers and employed as domestic helpers, factory workers, or
prostitutes. Ethnic minorities, migrant workers, and other socially
marginalized groups are more at risk than other groups due to the
high prevalence of poverty among them.

In 2008, law enforcement agencies reported 168 alleged trafficking
cases to the Department of Justice, leading prosecutors to file 97
cases in court, compared to 59 the prior year. The Department of
Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) provided services to 366
victims of trafficking or potential victims of trafficking, 220
victims of prostitution, 136 victims of child labor, and 67 victims
of pedophilia or child pornography, compared to the provision of
services to a total of only 158 victims in 2007. Philippine Foreign
Service Posts reported a total of 74 cases of trafficking involving
217 victims. The NGO Visayan Forum Foundation, aided by its
significant network expansion during the reporting period,
intercepted 17,938 potential victims of trafficking at major
seaports in the country and on seafaring vessels, ultimately leading
to the rescue approximately 2,500 trafficking victims, 66 percent
more than the 1,512 serviced by VFF in 2007.

The Philippines has a large, impoverished, relatively uneducated,
and culturally diverse population, spread across thousands of
islands, many of which experience annual, large-scale natural
disasters, holding back farmers and urban poor from an ever-elusive
prosperity. Geographical barriers, the remoteness of some rural
communities, and the lack of infrastructure have for decades impeded
the provision of basic government services to millions of Filipinos.
An ineffective judiciary, with its huge caseloads, limited
resources, significant judgeship vacancy rate, and grossly
inefficient procedures, must still dispense justice. All these
factors combine to make the Philippines a ripe location for human
trafficking; these same factors also make human trafficking in the
Philippines an extraordinary challenge to overcome.

However, within this difficult environment, the Philippine
government has persistently mobilized resources to combat
trafficking in a manner unparalleled on any other human rights issue
faced by the country. Through the initiative of forward-thinking
government agencies and dedicated bureaucrats, government bodies at
the national, regional, provincial, and local levels are
increasingly focused on anti-trafficking efforts, through
anti-trafficking councils, law enforcement task forces, and other
mechanisms. Despite limited resources, the Philippine government on
the whole has demonstrated resilience and creativity in improving
awareness of human trafficking, expanding prevention activities, and
protecting victims. The following highlights from 2008 represent
the government’s continued commitment to fight trafficking:

— The creation of a new interagency, anti-illegal recruitment task
force, led by the Vice President;

— The filing of 97 trafficking cases under the anti-TIP law by the
Department of Justice, compared to just 59 cases filed in 2007, a 64
percent increase in cases filed;

— A 150 percent increase over 2007 in the number of
anti-trafficking agreements signed with local government units;

— The drafting of model ordinances to be used by local government
units in combating TIP and protecting the rights of trafficked

MANILA 00000444 003 OF 018

children; and

— The filing of the government’s first anti-TIP case on foreign
soil, against a Singapore national who trafficked hundreds of
Filipinas to Malaysia.

While there was no increase in the number of trafficking convictions
over last year, it is essential to broaden the view of the
Philippines’ achievements beyond the simple counting of convictions.
We are aware that much work remains to be done on TIP in the
Philippines; there is no shortage of areas for improvement.
However, even as Post repeatedly calls on the government to do more
to stop human trafficking and to increase convictions, we must also
recognize that tremendous progress continues to be made.

¶C. UNDERSTANDING HUMAN TRAFFICKING IN THE PHILIPPINES: Endemic
poverty, a high unemployment and underemployment rate, a cultural
propensity to seek higher living standards elsewhere, a weak rule of
law environment, and a flourishing sex tourism industry all
contributed to the continuation of trafficking in the Philippines.
Persons were trafficked from poor, rural areas throughout the
Philippines to major urban areas within the country, especially
Metro Manila and Cebu, but also increasingly to cities in Mindanao.
A significant percentage of the victims of internal trafficking were
from the Visayas and Mindanao and were fleeing poverty or violence.
Following clashes between the military and the separatist group Moro
Islamic Liberation Front that began in August, the Visayan Forum
Foundation reported an increase in the number of women and children
in Mindanao being trafficked for domestic work. In 2008, 56 percent
of the trafficking victims rescued by the Visayan Forum were from
Mindanao. Victims of internal trafficking work as domestic servants
or small-factory workers, as well as in the drug trade and in the
commercial sex industry. They were often subject to violence,
threats, debt bondage, inhumane living conditions, non-payment of
salaries, and withholding of documents.

¶D. VULNERABILITY TO TIP: Traffickers most often targeted the
multitudes of workers seeking overseas and urban employment. About
1.3 million Philippine workers departed the country to engage in
temporary overseas work assignments in all parts of the world in
2008, leaving at the rate of 3,000 to 3,800 per day. An estimated
11 percent of Gross Domestic Product came from workers’ remittances.
The most common recruits for trafficking were girls and young women
aged 13 to 30 from rural areas, mainly from impoverished families.
Girls from ethnic minorities as young as ten years old also ended up
as commercial sex workers.

¶E. TRAFFICKERS AND THEIR METHODS: Traffickers usually sent female
recruiters to their own neighborhoods or villages to recruit friends
or relatives, providing the victims a false sense of security.
Traffickers often masqueraded as private employment recruiters,
while actually cooperating with organized crime rings. The most
common method to approach victims was to promise respectable and
lucrative jobs with good benefits, such as free room and board,
transportation, and cash advances. Parents and guardians were often
supportive, believing that work abroad is the key to ascending the
socio-economic ladder.

NGOs suggested that organized crime syndicates, including syndicates
from Japan, were heavily involved in the sex industry in Manila.
Employment agencies were involved in much of the trafficking both
within the country and to overseas destinations. They may also have
had a role in trafficking of persons into the country. Some of
these agencies may have also undertaken legitimate recruitment of
personnel, making it particularly challenging to identify illegal
recruitment, as the line between legitimate and illegitimate
agencies was blurred. Other recruiters may have been relatives or
neighbors, while some parents and guardians sold their children into
bondage. In many cases, trafficking syndicates used women in their
mid-40s or older to seek out victims, feeding many victims’
perception that older women were less likely to harm them.

Traffickers used land and sea transportation to transfer victims
from island provinces to major cities within the country. The
system of ferries and barges connecting the islands from Mindanao to

MANILA 00000444 004 OF 018

Luzon was the most common and cheapest mode of travel used by
traffickers to transport victims. Traffickers also took advantage
of budget airline carriers to transport victims out of the country.
Traffickers used fake travel documents, falsified permits, and
altered birth certificates.

—————————–
GOVERNMENT’S ANTI-TIP EFFORTS
—————————–

¶A. GOVERNMENT ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF THE PROBLEM: The government
acknowledges trafficking as a serious problem and actively took
steps to combat trafficking in the country. President Arroyo and
her administration frequently spoke out in public about the harms of
trafficking and the efforts of the government to combat TIP, making
clear the government has zero tolerance for TIP in any form. Senior
officials also stressed that the government would not condone
official complicity in such trafficking. Several cabinet-level
agencies and sub-agencies actively worked to combat trafficking in
the Philippines.

Calling more attention to the issue of human trafficking and illegal
recruitment, President Arroyo appointed Vice President Noli De
Castro in October to lead a new interagency anti-illegal recruitment
task force to arrest recruiters who victimize overseas-bound
Filipinos (see paragraph 6.C below).

¶B. AGENCIES INVOLVED IN ANTI-TIP WORK: The Inter-Agency Council
Against Trafficking in Persons (IACAT) coordinated, monitored, and
oversaw the implementation of the anti-trafficking law (Republic Act
9208 of 2003), and served as an umbrella organization to coordinate
anti-TIP efforts. The Secretaries of Justice and of Social Welfare
and Development co-chaired the IACAT. Other member agencies
included Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Labor and
Employment, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, National
Commission on the Role of Filipino Women, National Bureau of
Investigation, Bureau of Immigration, and Philippine National
Police. Three non-government organizations representing women,
children, and overseas workers were also part of the IACAT.

Government agencies’ efforts to combat human trafficking included:

— The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) extended assistance to
victims of trafficking abroad and oversaw the voluntary repatriation
of victims. It acted as the central coordinating unit for all
bilateral, regional, and multilateral efforts. The DFA’s Commission
on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) chairs the interagency Presidential Task
Force on Human Trafficking which conducts surveillance and
entrapment operations in coordination with law enforcement and
immigration agencies, conducts community education, and provides
legal and psycho-social services to trafficking victims. CFO also
assists in the filing of cases against traffickers. In coordination
with Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), the DFA, through its
Philippine embassies, took the lead in protecting the rights of
migrant workers abroad. Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLOs),
the overseas operating arm of DOLE, were under the supervision of
the Philippine Chief of Mission or Ambassador.

— The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) focused
on the protection of victims and was the responsible agency for the
social reintegration of victims of trafficking. DSWD operated 42
temporary shelters for victims of abuse throughout the country,
including for victims of human trafficking. In addition to DSWD’s
services within the Philippines, social workers were deployed to the
Philippine diplomatic missions in Hong Kong, Singapore, Taipei,
Tokyo, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait City, and Riyadh to provide
psycho-social counseling to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in
distress. These social workers coordinated the provision of services
with POLOs.

— The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) was responsible for
coordinating the government’s campaign against illegal recruitment,
and for maintaining records of overseas Filipino workers. It
ensured the strict implementation of, and compliance with, the rules
and guidelines on the employment of persons locally and overseas.

MANILA 00000444 005 OF 018

DOLE conducted outreach activities across the country to discourage
business owners from employing children. It also monitored,
documented, and reported cases of trafficking in persons involving
employers and labor recruiters. DOLE led the “Sagip Batang
Manggagawa” (Rescue the Child Workers, or SBM) program, an
interagency quick action mechanism composed of DOLE, Philippine
National Police (PNP), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), and
DSWD. DOLE officers worked as labor attaches at Philippine
diplomatic missions and spent much of their time assisting overseas
workers. Thirty-nine labor attaches served at thirty-four POLOs
around the world at Philippine diplomatic missions.

— The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), an attached
agency of DOLE, had responsibility for protecting overseas workers
and their dependents. It provided counseling and legal assistance
programs to overseas workers and conducted information dissemination
and awareness campaigns on living and working overseas. In
countries with large numbers of OFWs, an OWWA officer often served
as Assistant Labor Attache.

— The Department of Justice was responsible for protecting the
rights of victims of trafficking and prosecuting traffickers. It
also offered free legal assistance for trafficked persons in
coordination with the DSWD and NGOs. After the passage of the
anti-trafficking law in May 2003, DOJ established the Task Force on
Anti-Trafficking in Persons. The DOJ has assigned responsibility to
20 prosecutors who, in addition to their regular workloads, handle
the preliminary investigation and prosecution of trafficking cases
at the national level. Approximately 95 prosecutors in regional,
provincial, and municipal DOJ offices also handle cases of
trafficking in persons. DOJ continued to lead the government’s
anti-trafficking efforts, with the Secretary of Justice acting as
Chair of the government’s anti-TIP coordinating body, the
Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking in Persons (IACAT).

— The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the Philippine
National Police (PNP), and the National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM)
worked to identify, investigate, and dismantle trafficking
operations and prosecute offenders. The NBI created a task force
focused solely on investigating trafficking allegations, a task
force on the protection of women against exploitation and abuse, and
a task force on the protection of children from exploitation and
abuse.

— The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) conducted
systematic information and prevention campaigns and, together with
NAPOLCOM, created a databank in January 2008 for the efficient
monitoring, documentation, and prosecution of cases, including
trafficking.

— The National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women (NCRFW)
implemented national development plans for women and provided
technical assistance to strengthen government’s response to gender
issues. It formulated and monitored policies on trafficking in
persons in coordination with relevant government agencies. At the
time of this report, NCRFW was conducting research on the demand for
commercial sex. It was also preparing a definitive guide for
government agencies on the protection of trafficking victims,
scheduled for review by the IACAT in March 2009.

— The Bureau of Immigration (BI) administered and enforced
immigration and alien administration laws while adopting measures to
apprehend suspected international traffickers at key entry and exit
points. It ensured that Filipinos engaged or married to foreign
nationals complied with the guidance and counseling requirements in
the anti-trafficking law. BI also controlled and monitored border
points by deploying deputized marines to help enforce immigration
laws.

— The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA),
affiliated with DOLE, was the primary administrator of licenses for
recruitment agencies, which cannot solicit employees for overseas
work without the permission of POEA. POEA had authority to place on
probation or bar from recruiting new workers any agencies in
violation of POEA standards. POEA also administered pre-employment

MANILA 00000444 006 OF 018

orientation seminars and pre-departure counseling programs to
applicants for overseas employment. An average of 3,000 citizens
visited POEA’s main office each day to seek overseas employment.
POEA trained diplomatic staff, overseas labor officers, and social
welfare officers in methods for assisting trafficking victims
abroad. It also provided free legal assistance to trafficking
victims. In December 2006, POEA issued new employment requirements
for overseas Filipino household workers better to protect them from
widespread employer abuse and human trafficking. The new
requirements increased the monthly minimum wage from 200 to 400 USD
and raised the minimum age of eligibility from 18 to 23.

— Philippine Center on Transnational Crime (PCTC) collected
information for the effective monitoring, documentation, and
prosecution of trafficking cases of foreign nationals.

¶C. LIMITATIONS ON GOVERNMENT EFFORTS: The Philippines remains one of
the poorest countries in Asia. The government’s ability to address
the trafficking problem and provide assistance to its victims
remained limited by inadequate resources, including for police.
Corruption in the government and the general ineffectiveness of the
judicial system were also factors that impeded the government’s
ability to prosecute trafficking cases. The lack of resources and
high judgeship vacancy rate in the judiciary significantly slowed
trial times. A 2005 UN Development Program (UNDP) and Philippine
Supreme Court study found that the average trial takes over three
years; in practice, many trials take longer. Some government
agencies and offices have not yet fully implemented the 2003
anti-trafficking law due to lack of training and orientation on the
scope and magnitude of the problem.

National and international NGOs and other foreign donors (including
the USG) complemented official government programs. NGOs focused
anti-trafficking resources primarily on prevention and protection
for overseas Filipino workers. The strongest efforts existed in the
areas of helping to prevent persons from becoming victims,
repatriating victims in destination countries, and reintegrating
them into Philippine society upon their return home.

¶D. MONITORING ANTI-TRAFFICKING EFFORTS: The government had no
central database of trafficking information, but IACAT planned to
introduce a comprehensive national database in June 2009 in a
UNICEF-sponsored project. Several agencies maintained their own
separate databases, but many of these databases did not focus
exclusively on trafficking. The Philippine Center on Transnational
Crime (PCTC) collected information on transnational crime
activities, but its records were not comprehensive. The Commission
on Filipinos Overseas (CFO), an attached agency of the DFA,
developed a database to monitor legal problems involving Filipinos
overseas, but its system was not restricted to trafficking and also
generated reports on other cases such as domestic violence and human
smuggling. The CFO plans to integrate this information into a
shared government database on migration. The National Police
Commission (NAPOLCOM) maintained a database of national crime
statistics, including trafficking cases, based on the quarterly
reports from PNP. As of this report writing, only one-fifth of
nationwide criminal cases had been entered into the system. The
system is not yet a reliable source of trafficking data.

The IACAT and government task forces involved in anti-TIP activities
met regularly to share information and coordinate policies.
Government officials also met regularly with concerned NGOs, foreign
donors, embassies, and regional and international organizations to
share information and assessments, but all agreed solid data about
the extent of the problem remained difficult to obtain.

——————————————–
INVESTIGATION AND PROSECUTION OF TRAFFICKERS
——————————————–

¶4. (SBU) The answers below are keyed to the format contained in ref
A, para 25.

¶A. EXISTING LAWS AGAINST TIP: The Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of
2003 (Republic Act 9208) is the Philippines’ landmark legislation to

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protect women and children from sexual exploitation and forced
labor. The law affirmed the government’s resolve to prevent and
suppress the illegal trade in persons, especially women and
children, and carried penalties not only against traffickers but
also against users or buyers of victims. Under the law, the
recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipt of a
minor for the purpose of exploitation was enough to file a case
against a trafficker. It is not necessary to show that such acts
were made through threats, use of force, or other coercive measures.
The law penalizes both internal and transnational trafficking.

In addition to the anti-trafficking law, the government used several
laws to prosecute traffickers, including: the Migrant Workers and
Overseas Filipinos Act (Republic Act 8042), which gave the
government the authority to combat illegal recruiting; the
Mail-Order Bride Law (Republic Act 6955), which made it unlawful for
foreign men to marry Filipino women for the purpose of exploitation;
the Inter-Country Adoption Act of 1995 (Republic Act 8043), which
sought to protect Filipino children from abuse, exploitation,
trafficking, and/or sale; the Special Protection of Children Against
Child Abuse, Exploitation, and Discrimination Act (Republic Act
7610), which established penalties for child exploitation, including
child trafficking; and the Anti-Child Labor Law (Republic Act 9231),
which guaranteed the protection, health, and safety of child workers
guaranteed the protection, health, and safety of child workers and
prohibited the employment of children below the age of 15, except
when granted special permission by DOLE.

¶B. PUNISHMENT OF SEX TRAFFICKING OFFENSES: The Anti-Trafficking in
Persons Act of 2003 imposed harsh penalties on persons engaged in
trafficking for sexual exploitation. The law distinguished between
three types of violations: direct participation in trafficking; acts
that promoted trafficking; and more serious acts of trafficking,
called “qualified” trafficking. The penalty for a direct act was a
fine of P1 million to P2 million (20,777 to 41,554 USD) and up to 20
years imprisonment. Promotion of trafficking through falsification
of documents and tampering with certificates carried up to 15 years
imprisonment and a fine of P500,000 to P1 million (10,388 to 20,777
USD). The maximum penalty applied where the victim was a child,
trafficking was conducted on a large scale, or the crime involved
military or law enforcement agencies and public officers or
employees, resulting in life imprisonment and a fine of P2 million
to P5 million (41,554 to 103,385 USD). Those who engaged the
services of trafficked persons for prostitution faced penalties of
between six months of community service and a fine of P50,000 (1,039
USD) to a maximum of one year imprisonment and a fine of P100,000
(2,078 USD).

The Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003 law prescribes the same
penalties for trafficking for purposes of sexual exploitation,
prostitution, pornography, forced labor, slavery, involuntary
servitude, or debt bondage.

¶C. PUNISHMENT FOR LABOR TRAFFICKING OFFENSES: The anti-trafficking
law clearly states it is illegal to recruit, transport, transfer,
harbor, provide, or receive a person by any means, including under
the pretext of domestic or overseas employment, training, or
apprenticeship, for the purpose of prostitution, pornography, sexual
exploitation, forced labor, slavery, involuntary servitude, or debt
bondage. Activities that promoted or facilitated trafficking could
result in imprisonment of up to 15 years and a fine between P500,000
to P1 million (10,388 to 20,777 USD). There have been no
convictions for trafficking for forced labor.

The Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995 (Republic Act
8042) regulates the recruitment and deployment of Filipinos for
overseas work. The law imposes a jail term of six to 12 years and a
fine of P200,000 to P500,000 (4,155 to 10,388 USD) for recruiters
and placement agencies that are not registered with the POEA, and
for recruiters, whether registered or not, who place workers in jobs
harmful to health and morality, or alter employment contracts to the
detriment of the worker.

In 2008, POEA filed 318 administrative cases against licensed labor
recruiters who used fraudulent and deceptive offers to entice

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jobseekers or imposed inappropriately high or illegal fees on
prospective employees. During the reporting period, the Supreme
Court and the local courts of the cities of Makati, Baguio, Malolos,
and San Fernando issued convictions for illegal recruitment in seven
POEA-endorsed and monitored cases.

¶D. PENALTIES FOR RAPE OR SEXUAL ASSAULT: Under the Anti-Rape Law of
1997 (Republic Act 8353), the penalty for rape is life imprisonment.
Under the Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995 (Republic Act 7877),
any person who is convicted of violating the provisions of the Act
shall face imprisonment of not less than one month and no more than
six months, be fined up to P20,000 (415 USD), or face both a fine
and imprisonment.

¶E. LAW ENFORCEMENT STATISTICS: Since the passage of the 2003
anti-trafficking law, the Department of Justice has convicted 12
people under the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003. The
government made progress in combating trafficking in 2008,
particularly in the areas of law enforcement coordination and victim
protection and assistance. In 2008, law enforcement agencies
reported 168 new trafficking cases to DOJ for review. Of these, 97
were filed in court as trafficking cases, compared to only 59 cases
filed in court in 2007. Of the other cases received by DOJ in 2008,
3 were filed in court as violations of other related penal laws, 35
were pending preliminary investigation, 29 cases were dropped or
dismissed, and one case was archived due to lack of progress on the
investigation. Since 2003, DOJ has filed in court a total of 288
cases of human trafficking, of which one-third were filed in 2008.

During the reporting period, Philippine courts convicted four
individuals in three cases under the 2003 anti-trafficking law. One
trafficker received a life sentence after the courts found her
guilty of “qualified trafficking” of minors for prostitution, while
the traffickers in the other cases were each sentenced to 20 years
in prison. In the June 30 ruling in Batangas City, the judge also
ordered the trafficker to pay a fine of 50,000 USD. The judges in
the October 10 ruling in Zamboanga City and in the November 27
ruling in Paranaque City ordered the traffickers to pay fines of
25,000 USD. The convicted traffickers all remained in jail serving
their sentences, including two of the traffickers who are appealing
their convictions.

Despite the DOJ’s intensified efforts to prosecute and convict
traffickers, the majority of cases continued to drag because of an
overburdened judicial system. The judicial process on average takes
three years from the filing of charges to resolution of a case.

Under certain circumstances and with approval of the court,
Philippine law permitted private attorneys to prosecute cases under
the direction and control of a public prosecutor. These “private
prosecutors” serve on behalf of the victims in court proceedings.
The government used this provision effectively, allowing and
supporting International Justice Mission (IJM) and other NGOs that
provide legal assistance to investigate and prosecute trafficking
cases. IJM’s two offices in Manila and Cebu filed a total of 21 new
criminal cases of trafficking in 2008 and had more than 50 cases in
various stages of arraignment or trial. Three of the four
nationwide trafficking convictions in 2008 were a result of cases by
filed by IJM for the victims in two separate cases of human
trafficking.

The government actively investigated cases of trafficking-related
offenses, but was hampered by scarce resources. The principal
investigative agencies were BI, NBI, and PNP. At PNP, the Criminal
Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) and the Women and
Children’s Concerns Division handled most trafficking cases. In
2008, PNP investigated 55 cases of trafficking involving women and
children. Of these, 18 cases were filed in court and 37 were filed
with prosecutors’ offices to undergo preliminary investigation.

The Philippine Center for Transnational Crime investigated six cases
of trafficking involving 24 victims. One case was referred to the
local prosecutor for further investigation. The NBI’s Anti-Human
Trafficking Division investigated 130 complaints of trafficking, of
which 112 were under investigation and seven were filed with DOJ for

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potential prosecution. The BI ensured that all foreign nationals
within its territorial jurisdiction complied with existing laws to
ensure the protection of women and children against commercial
sexual exploitation. BI’s interceptions at Philippine airports were
typically referred to NBI for further investigation.

Other government agencies also investigated cases of trafficking.
During the reporting period, the Task Force Against Trafficking at
Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila assisted a total of 37
trafficked victims from Malaysia, Kuwait, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and
Syria. Twenty four of the victims filed complaints with the police
and the NBI. The POEA assisted trafficking victims in the proper
filing of cases in court, filing four cases of trafficking, two
cases of forced labor, and two cases of commercial sexual
exploitation. POEA assisted in the arrest of approximately 90
individuals involved in illegal recruitment, representing a 300
percent increase in POEA-assisted arrests over the prior year. DOLE
conducted 17 rescue operations involving 25 minors, 19 of whom were
trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation and the rest for
forced labor.

According to the POEA, criminal cases against traffickers and
illegal recruiters were assisted by an improved intelligence network
at the barangay level, in part achieved through a significant
expansion of POEA training to Public Employment Service Managers in
communities throughout the country (see paragraph F below).

¶F. TRAINING FOR GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS: Government agencies continued
to increase the frequency of TIP training and orientation efforts.
Programs included training for thousands of officials, including
prosecutors, judges, NBI investigators, local government units, and
city councilors. In March 2008, the IACAT, with the support from
USAID’s Rule of Law Effectiveness Program, and through the Filipino
Initiative Against Trafficking in Northern Mindanao (Caraga Region),
conducted a series of activities including training of prosecutors,
law enforcers and social workers, on effective coordination in the
investigation and prosecution of trafficking cases. The USG,
UNICEF, and other donors also supported training of police officers
and prosecutors. IACAT also conducted UNICEF-supported training for
prosecutors in December 2008.

In 2008 POEA signed 130 memorandums of agreement with local
government units across the country and trained local officials and
Public Employment Service Managers how to educate Filipinos on
seeking overseas employment, including identifying the warning signs
of illegal recruitment and human trafficking. The number of
memorandums signed in 2008 represents a 150 percent increase over
the number of memorandums signed in 2007. Officials in communities
that do not yet have agreements with POEA actively seek out POEA’s
popular training program.

The PCTC conducted training on upgrading its personnel’s skills in
combating transnational crimes, including trafficking.

¶G. INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION: The government cooperated with other
countries in the investigation and prosecution of TIP cases,
particularly in cases with Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, New
Zealand, and the United States. In November 2008, IACAT filed
criminal charges for trafficking against a Singaporean recruiter,
Lim Beng Wat, who is based in Kuala Lumpur. The suspect was said to
have victimized hundreds of Filipino women who were promised work in
Malaysia but ended up as slaves and were sexually exploited and
maltreated. This is the first attempt of the Philippine government
to initiate a case of human trafficking against a foreign national
and the first Philippines’ case to be prosecuted on foreign soil.
The number of cooperative international investigations on
trafficking was not available because there was no central database
linking the various law enforcement agencies. The Philippines had
treaties on mutual legal assistance on criminal matters with
Australia and the United States. The Philippines was also a
signatory to the ASEAN Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty to share
information and evidence among ASEAN member-states.

The Philippines participated in other international efforts to
prevent, monitor, and control trafficking. DSWD is one of the

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partner agencies in the implementation of an International Labour
Organization (ILO) trafficking project that addresses the lack of
systematic documentation of trafficked victims, absence of an
effective referral system, and inadequate competencies of service
providers in recovery and reintegration services for victims.

Philippine law enforcement agencies actively cooperate with U.S.
Mission officials on investigations of visa fraud schemes
perpetrated by fixers, smugglers, and human traffickers. A typical
baiting scheme involves Filipino nurses who pay a fee to an agency
that guarantees them high-paying nursing work in the U.S. Upon
arrival in the U.S., they are told there are no nursing jobs and are
instead given work as nursing attendants or nurses’ aides caring for
the elderly, at salaries that are dramatically lower than what they
were offered. In other schemes, recruiters will charge low fees to
find high-paying work in the U.S. for unskilled Filipinas. Upon
arrival in the U.S., these women are told they have accrued
significant debts and are coerced into commercial sex in massage
parlors or as escorts to repay these “debts.”

¶H. EXTRADITIONS: Philippine law permits extradition, and the
Philippines had extradition treaties with Australia, Canada, the
Federated States of Micronesia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Republic of
Korea, Switzerland, Thailand , and the United States. Under the
terms of the 2003 anti-trafficking law, trafficking in persons is
considered an extraditable offense. However, the government
received no extradition requests for trafficking offenders, foreign
or national, during the reporting period.

¶I. GOVERNMENT INVOLVEMENT AND/OR TOLERANCE: Government officials at
all levels publicly stated their commitment to combat trafficking in
the Philippines. While there was no evidence that the government,
as an institution, tolerated, permitted or allowed trafficking
crimes, widespread corruption at all levels of government permitted
many organized crime groups, including traffickers, to conduct their
illegal activities. Corruption among law enforcement agents
remained pervasive. At the street level, it was not uncommon for
officers to demand petty bribes for minor offenses, real or alleged.
Law enforcement officers often extracted protection money in
exchange for permitting businesses to conduct legitimate operations
without necessary permits, or for illegitimate businesses, such as
brothel owners or gambling and drug lords. It is widely believed
that some government officials are involved in, or at least permit,
trafficking operations within the country.

¶J. EFFORTS TO INVESTIGATE AND PROSECUTE GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS FOR
INVOLVEMENT IN TRAFFICKING: In February 2007, the Task Force
Against Trafficking at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport
(NAIA), an inter-agency task force composed of DOJ, BI, Customs,
Airport Police and the Manila International Airport Authority, was
formed to combat trafficking at the airport by intercepting
undocumented passengers, assisting trafficking victims, and
monitoring reported involvement of airport personnel. On September
17, an officer of the Bureau of Immigration at Ninoy Aquino
International Airport was apprehended for her alleged role in aiding
the trafficking of 17 Mindanao minors to Syria and Jordan. On
October 22, a city prosecutor dismissed the charge against the
officer for insufficient evidence, but filed trafficking charges
against two accomplices. Because of reports of alleged collusion of
government officials and immigration employees with organized
trafficking syndicates, the Bureau of Immigration instituted a
number of preventive measures at the airports, including prohibition
of immigration officers from carrying mobile phones on duty and
regular rotation of officers at assigned counters. The case of
police officer Dennis Reci, charged in June 2005 for allegedly
trafficking minors for sexual exploitation at his nightclub in
Manila, was still ongoing at the time of this report. Reci remained
under detention.

In January 2009, the Office of the Ombudsman formalized the
Tanodbayan (Ombudsman) Against Government Employees Involved in
Trafficking (TARGET), composed of special investigators and
prosecutors tasked to investigate cases against government officials
engaged in trafficking in persons or trafficking-related corruption.
The Office of the Ombudsman conducted a study to identify areas

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where government procedures were particularly vulnerable to
corruption and human trafficking, and expressed commitment to
investigate enforcement gaps. During the reporting period, TARGET
conducted fact-finding investigations on four government personnel
allegedly involved in trafficking cases.

¶K. PROSTITUTION. Prostitution is illegal and the activities of a
prostitute are criminalized. Individuals engaged in the business of
prostitution, such as the brothel owners/operators and pimps, also
have criminal liability, but these laws are rarely enforced. There
are no criminal laws specifically penalizing the clients of
prostitutes. Various anti-prostitution bills that would penalize
customers and define prostitution as exploitation remained pending
in both houses of Congress.

¶L. INTERNATIONAL PEACEKEEPING TROOPS: The Philippines has deployed a
total of 626 military and police personnel in United Nations
peacekeeping missions. During the reporting period, there were no
reports of Philippine peacekeepers engaging in or facilitating
trafficking.

¶M. CHILD SEX TOURISM: Child sex tourism continued to be a serious
problem for the Philippines. Sex tourists reportedly came from
Asia, Europe, and North America to engage in sexual activity with
minors. In 2008, the Bureau of Immigration deported 10 foreign sex
offenders and pedophiles. The government also cooperated with the
U.S. in prosecuting American nationals under the terms of the U.S.
PROTECT Act of 2003, which criminalized the commission of child
abuse by American nationals overseas, including child pornography
and other sexual offenses against a minor. At the end of the
reporting period, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) of the
U.S. Department of Homeland Security had a total of 17 PROTECT Act
cases in collaboration with the Philippine government. Of the 17
cases, three were pending prosecution in the Philippines, including
one case of trafficking; one case was pending in California; five
other cases were under investigation; and eight were closed with no
further action.

————————————
PROTECTION AND ASSISTANCE TO VICTIMS
————————————

¶5. (SBU) The answers below are keyed to the format contained in ref
A, para 26.

¶A. VICTIM AND WITNESS PROTECTION: Under the Witness Protection,
Security, and Benefit Program, the DOJ offered protection to
witnesses from reprisals and economic dislocation by providing
security protection, immunity from criminal prosecution, housing,
livelihood expenses, travel expenses, medical benefits, education
for dependents, and job security. Due to lack of resources to fund
the program, many who would have liked to participate could not,
and, according to one NGO’s report, some applications for witness
protection were still pending with a regional DOJ office more than a
year after being filed. Many other potential witnesses may not have
been aware of the existence of this program. In addition to the
halfway houses, VFF also ran two safehouses in Manila and Legazpi
for longer protective custody of victims, especially for those who
decided to take legal action against traffickers.

¶B. ACCESS TO FACILITIES: The Philippines has shelters that are
accessible to trafficking victims, including some shelters that over
time have become exclusively dedicated to the needs of TIP victims,
even though the shelters are not officially designated as such.
DSWD maintained 42 residential care units; of these, 13 centers were
for girls, 13 centers were for women, and the remaining for men,
boys, and the elderly. Substitute homes, or havens, served the
needs of female victims of trafficking and other forms of abuse.
Twelve substitute homes provided shelter for over 1,400 women and
their children. The DSWD’s Residential Care unit provided 24-hour
residential group care to children on a temporary basis to
facilitate healing, recovery, and reintegration with their families
and communities. The DSWD also referred cases of abuse to
accredited NGOs for women and children, which provided temporary
shelter and community services to women and children in crisis,

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including victims of trafficking. While DSWD’s efforts to protect
victims were impressive, government funding for DSWD’s programs
remained inadequate, and some NGOs sought to augment the TIP
services and capabilities of the DSWD-operated shelters through
training.

Crisis intervention and child protection units operated in many
public hospitals throughout the country. The crisis units also
provided telephone counseling, conducted rescue operations, and
provided overnight facilities and referral services for longer-term
shelters. Women and Children Protection Units in Department of
Health (DOH) hospitals offered medical services and psychological
counseling to victims of violence. The Philippine General Hospital
in Manila evaluated and treated TIP victims on behalf of the
government.

The government cooperated well with NGOs to support and provide
services to trafficking victims. Philippine Ports Authority works
closely with the Visayan Forum Foundation (VFF) and enables it to
operate halfway houses for victims and potential victims of TIP.
The Philippine Ports Authority’s Gender and Development Focal Point
Program, an agency under the Department of Transportation and
Communication (DOTC), provided the building and amenities for a
halfway house for dedicated use by trafficking victims. Activities
of the halfway house staff included regular inspection of the
different port areas, assistance to possible victims of traffickers
and victims of illegal recruitment, information dissemination, and
basic orientation seminars.

VFF currently operates shelters in Manila, Batangas, Davao,
Sorsogon, and Zamboanga. During the reporting period, VFF opened
additional halfway houses in Iloilo and Surigao.

In July 2006, VFF signed a 10-year agreement with the Manila
International Airport Authority to establish an airport halfway
house for TIP victims. In October 2008, the halfway house on
airport property opened to serve victims and potential victims of
human trafficking. Under this partnership, VFF also trains airport
immigration and customs officials on how to identify potential
victims of human trafficking.

VFF ran the Multi-Sectoral Network Against Trafficking in Persons
(MSNAT) to promote cooperation and sustain partnership among
government, NGOs, the private sector, and civil society. Government
partners included the DOJ, DOLE, DFA, DILG, DSWD, National Police
Commission, Philippine Ports Authority, and the Commission on Human
Rights.

DSWD provided limited funding to accredited NGOs to help meet the
basic needs of victims, such as food, clothing, medicine, and legal
services. With assistance from DFA, DSWD established arrangements
with NGOs in other countries to provide distressed OFWs with
temporary shelter, counseling, and medical assistance.

¶C. GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE TO TRAFFICKING VICTIMS: The government
assisted victims by providing shelter, and access to legal, medical,
and psychological services. Medical and psychological services
include physical examination, dental check-ups, and psychiatric
evaluation. In general, NGOs cannot rely on government funding.
They typically turn to foreign governments, foreign and domestic
religious groups, third-country and multinational donor agencies,
and private foundations for resources. However, the government
remained highly aware of the value of NGOs in combating trafficking
and routinely sought cooperation and input from them.

¶D. ASSISTANCE TO FOREIGN TRAFFICKED VICTIMS: The Anti-Trafficking
Law provides that foreign trafficked victims or trafficking victims
who transit the Philippines are entitled to the same assistance and
protections as Philippine citizens. The government provides
temporary residency status, relief from deportation, shelter, and
access to legal, medical, and psychological services to foreign
victims of trafficking. Additional protective services included
telephone hotlines for reporting abused/exploited cases of women and
children. There were no reported foreign national victims of
trafficking during the reporting period.

MANILA 00000444 013 OF 018

¶E. LONG-TERM BENEFITS: Although long-term housing is not provided to
trafficking victims, DSWD does provide victims with livelihood
skills development and self-employment assistance, including
training in entrepreneurial skills and the provision of capital.
DSWD also offers after-care services to reintegrate trafficking
victims into their homes and communities.

F.REFERRAL PROCESS: The government referred trafficking victims to
short-term and long-term care institutions, including both
government and private institutions. The referral process varied
depending on the location of the trafficking victim and the nature
of the relationship between the government agencies and NGOs on
anti-trafficking issues.

¶G. TOTAL NUMBER OF TRAFFICKING VICTIMS: There are no reliable
government statistics on the total number of trafficking victims and
the total number assisted with government services. DSWD data for
2008 show that the government served 366 trafficking victims, 136
victims of child labor, 287 victims of sexual exploitation including
prostitution, pedophilia and pornography, and 85 victims of illegal
recruitment. Due to inconsistent reporting mechanisms at DSWD field
offices, the data may understate the number of victims serviced.
During the reporting period, Philippine Foreign Service Posts
reported a total of 74 cases of trafficking involving 217 victims.
These cases were referred to the NBI and to the IACAT for
investigation and, where warranted, the filing of complaints of
human trafficking. Other government programs, some in cooperation
with NGOs, referred victims to government or private services.

¶H. LAW ENFORCEMENT IDENTIFICATION OF TRAFFICKING VICTIMS: The
implementing rules of the 2003 anti-trafficking law outlined
procedures to identify and refer victims of trafficking, whether the
incident occurred inside or outside of the country. NGOs noted that
training conducted by government agencies and NGOs during the year
improved the government’s overall awareness of the trafficking
problem in the country and led to an improved ability on the part of
the government to proactively identify traffickers, rescue their
victims, and investigate cases. In a 2005 trafficking case, the
testimony of a Batangas port official trained by an NGO to identify
trafficking victims led to the first trafficking conviction in 2008.
A 2005 case in Zamboanga that led to the nation’s first trafficking
conviction also featured prosecutors trained in anti-trafficking
strategies.

Victims of trafficking rescued within the country went under the
custody of the DSWD for proper treatment. For cases overseas,
consular officers and personnel from the POLO conducted visits to
the jail, work site, or residence of the victim, and then provided
temporary shelter as well as legal, financial, and repatriation
assistance to the victims. Upon arrival in the Philippines, the
DSWD, the NBI, or PNP provided psycho-social interventions,
psychological and medical examinations, and therapy sessions, if
necessary.

Port personnel referred victims, as well as domestic workers
detained at port police stations, to the halfway houses run by the
Visayan Forum Foundation (VFF). The DSWD also referred cases of
physical and verbal abuse against domestic workers to VFF for
psycho-social intervention and short-term care until repatriation of
the victims. The VFF maintained five halfway houses in strategic
port areas in Batangas, Manila, Davao, Sorsogon, and Zamboanga City.
VFF similarly coordinated with the PPA, DOLE, DSWD, shipping
companies, and workers’ groups. Halfway house staff provided direct
services to trafficked victims in ports, including temporary
shelter, referral, repatriation, and counseling.

¶I. THE RIGHTS OF TRAFFICKING VICTIMS: The 2003 anti-trafficking law
recognized trafficked persons as victims and did not penalize them
for crimes related to the acts of trafficking or for obeying
traffickers, regardless of their consent to exploitation. Police
sometimes brought charges of vagrancy against prostitutes and
trafficked victims.

¶J. VICTIM COOPERATION WITH LAW ENFORCEMENT: The government actively

MANILA 00000444 014 OF 018

encouraged victims to assist in the investigation and prosecution of
trafficking and related crimes and to file criminal cases against
traffickers and unscrupulous recruiters. Victims can file civil
suits or seek legal action against traffickers. During the
reporting period, thirteen trafficking victims cooperated in the
filing of three anti-trafficking cases. Some victims declined the
opportunity to participate in legal proceedings because of the
financial or emotional cost of going to trial or because they
settled out of court. Victims who agree to testify as witnesses are
allowed to obtain other employment and are allowed to leave the
country pending trial proceedings. The Secretary of Justice issued
a DOJ Circular in 2005 instructing that all cases involving
violations of the anti-trafficking law should receive preferential
attention. The circular also ordered all prosecutors to reject
calls by defense attorneys for dismissal of cases in which the
victims recant their testimony.

Pursuant to the Rape Victim Assistance and Protection Act, an
all-female team of police officers, examining physicians, and
prosecutors must handle investigations of offenses committed against
women. In the case of trafficked children, the Special Protection
of Children Act and the Rule on Examination of a Child Witness
mandate that a single panel conduct victim interviews to avoid the
potentially damaging effects of feeling re-victimized through
repeated questioning. All fines paid by trafficking offenders
accrue to a trust fund that IACAT administers, which it uses to
prevent acts of trafficking, protect and rehabilitate victims, and
reintegrate trafficked persons into the community.

¶K. TRAINING FOR OFFICIALS TO IDENTIFY AND PROTECT VICTIMS: The
government, through IACAT and with funding from USAID and other
donors, conducted regular training seminars for government
officials, including those from DSWD, PNP, DOJ, DFA, DOLE,
Commission on Human Rights, and various NGOs, on gender- sensitive
and child-friendly handling of trafficking cases.

The BI also conducted periodic training on basic immigration laws
and procedures for immigration officers and agents in the field and
other personnel involved in operations. Consular staff, Foreign
Service officers, and attaches en route to foreign missions also
received TIP training. ILO and the Department of Foreign Affairs
Foreign Service Institute have developed an anti-trafficking in
persons training module. This training module (in CD format) has
benefitted 350 DFA Foreign Service officers and staff officers who
were unable to undergo anti-trafficking training through PDOS in
¶2008.

¶L. ASSISTANCE FOR REPATRIATED TRAFFICKING VICTIMS: DFA, OWWA, and
DSWD assisted repatriated Filipino workers who were victims of
trafficking. The OWWA’s Halfway Home program provided temporary
shelter, transport services, financial assistance, and counseling
services through a network of NGOs. The DSWD, working with DOLE and
DOH, provided protective custody, recovery, and healing services for
victims. Services included organization of support groups,
psychological and psychiatric interventions, medical, legal and
livelihood services, provision of limited financial assistance, and
educational assistance.

¶M. GOVERNMENT COOPERATION WITH NGOS: The vibrant local and
international NGO community in the Philippines included many
organizations that work directly with trafficking victims. The most
active contributors included:

— Coalition Against Trafficking in Women – Asia Pacific
(CATW-AP) is an international network of feminist groups,
organizations, and individuals fighting the sexual exploitation of
women. The coalition brings attention to trafficking in women and
girls, prostitution, pornography, sex tourism, and bride selling
through media campaigns and policy advocacy. It provides preventive
education program on migration and trafficking at the community and
grassroots level and conducts dialogues with government agencies
such as the POEA, DOLE, and DSWD on preventive and curative
measures. Its services include referring trafficking cases to
member and partner organizations for legal, counseling and support
services. It also documents trafficking cases based on the Human

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Rights Information and Documentation System used by a global network
of organizations concerned with human rights issues.

— Visayan Forum Foundation focuses on the promotion of child
welfare, especially migrant working children, and is active on the
issue of domestic trafficking of women and children. It provides
24-hour services for victims, including the operation of several
temporary shelters, counseling, employment referrals, training, and
advocacy. Staff positioned at port arrival areas identify and
intercept probable victims of trafficking as they disembark ships.
Through funding assistance from The Asia Foundation and the USG, VFF
spearheaded the creation of the Multi-Sectoral Network Against
Trafficking in Persons (MSNAT), a national network committed to
provide immediate and appropriate response mechanisms to prevent
trafficking, investigate and prosecute offenders, and protect,
rescue, recover, and reintegrate victims, especially women and
children.

— The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) is the largest
trade union network in the Philippines. The TUCP forges coalitions
with various labor groups in its efforts to promote and protect the
rights and welfare of workers and other disadvantaged groups,
including women, youth, children, and migrant workers. TUCP’s
Women’s Bureau is particularly active in anti-trafficking
initiatives, such as public information and media campaigns,
database collection and documentation, provision of legal assistance
to victims through public attorneys’ offices, and networking. With
funding support from the American Center for International Labor
Solidarity and the USG, TUCP completed a government database housed
with the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) to provide a uniform
reporting mechanism that conforms to National Police Commission
(NAPOLCOM) standards. TUCP worked with transportation unions and
companies in 2008 to disseminate information on anti-trafficking
initiatives and interdiction, signing MOAs with bus companies and
two inter-island passenger lines, Sulpicio Lines and Trans-Asia.
TUCP also implemented anti-trafficking orientation programs for
seafarers and ticketing agents and other personnel for trafficking
interventions. In February 2009, TUCP, in cooperation with the
Bataan provincial government, launched the Bataan Task Force against
Trafficking, that province’s interagency body on anti-trafficking
issues.

— Development Action for Women Network (DAWN) addresses the
concerns of Filipino women migrants in Japan as well as the growing
number of Japanese-Filipino children (JFCs). Almost 90 percent of
Filipino OFWs in Japan are female entertainers, making them
vulnerable to trafficking and sexual exploitation. In coordination
with its DAWN-Japan volunteers, DAWN-Philippines assists JFCs
abandoned by their Japanese fathers.

— Women’s Legal Bureau (WLB) is a feminist legal NGO composed of
lawyers, academics, and members of other professions. It provides
legal services to victims and survivors of violence against women
and conducts education and information campaigns to raise public
awareness on women’s issues. Other programs include representation
of women in judicial proceedings, training of law enforcers and
members of the legal profession on gender sensitivity, empowering
communities to respond to feminist issues, especially those
involving violence against women, and working with women’s groups
toward promoting human rights.

— Third World Movement Against the Exploitation of Women (TWMAEW)
addresses the needs of children and women in prostitution and other
victims of sexual exploitation through shelters and support centers.
It offers skills training, livelihood assistance, and
psycho-social intervention. In collaboration with UNICEF and DepEd,
it conducted awareness-raising campaigns on sexual abuse for 13,291
elementary school pupils. Social workers, educators, and survivors
of sexual abuse facilitated the workshops.

— Kanlungan Center Foundation (KCF) works with OFWs and their
families in addressing the problems of migrant workers. It provides
legal and welfare assistance, psycho-social counseling, temporary
shelter, education, and training. Its educational lineup includes
courses on basic migrants’ orientation, migrant rights, legal

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remedies, and gender awareness and sensitivity. KCF also creates
partnerships at the grassroots level to address the psycho-social
and economic sides of migration that can impact communities.

— End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and the Trafficking of
Children for Sexual Purposes (ECPAT) campaigns to raise general
public awareness in tourism, the travel industry, and high-risk
communities on the issue of children victims of sexual abuse and
commercial sexual exploitation. ECPAT is a member of the Special
Committee for the Protection of Children under the DOJ and works
with local government units in major provinces and cities, other
NGOs, and church-based organizations.

———-
PREVENTION
———-

¶6. (SBU) The answers below are keyed to the format contained in ref
A, para 27:

¶A. PUBLIC AWARENESS CAMPAIGNS: Government agencies increased the
frequency of their TIP information and education campaigns, mostly
thanks to funding by bilateral international donor agencies.

— In March 2008, the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking in
Persons (IACAT), with support from USAID, conducted a “road show”
campaign against human trafficking in the Caraga region of
northeastern Mindanao. Aimed at raising awareness in communities,
over 1,500 government and non-government organizations, church and
women’s groups, students and the media from Butuan City and five
provinces of the Caraga region participated in the road show, which
educated thousands of Filipinos on the dangers of human trafficking
and on how to avoid becoming victims.

— In September and October 2008, the IACAT, with the Blas F. Ople
Policy Research Center and the Visayan Forum Foundation, held
campaigns entitled “We Are Not for Sale” at Manila International
Airport and Diosdado Macapagal International Airport in Clark,
Pampanga. The campaign sought to educate immigration officers on
the harm caused by their potential complicity in human trafficking
and thereby prevent their collusion with traffickers. The campaign
included sessions with immigration officers and trafficking victims.
During one of these sessions, some of the victim-speakers
identified two immigration officers in the audience whom the victims
claim had worked with their recruiters. The two immigration
officers are now facing criminal and administrative charges.

— In April 2008, The Asia Foundation and the Association of
Broadcasters, through the support of USAID, aired anti-trafficking
infomercials for 45 days on 34 radio stations in Metro Manila, Cebu,
Samar, and Leyte.

— During the reporting period, IACAT distributed hundreds of
standard orientation modules on trafficking in persons to city and
municipal mayors at an annual conference in Manila.

— POEA conducted 1,235 pre-employment orientation seminars for
61,582 departing overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in 2008. These
seminars sought t educate the OFWs on the risks and rewards of
ovrseas employment. The seminar module included a vieo
presentation on trafficking in persons.

–The National Commission on the Role of Filipino Woen (NCRFW), in
partnership with the IACAT, the Iter-Agency Council on Violence
Against Women andTheir Children (IACVAWC), and the Violence Against
Women Coordinating Committee (VAWCC), spearheadedan 18-day campaign
from November 25 to Decembe 2 to promote an end to violence
against women. The campaign highlighted the roles of governments
and citizens in curbing and responding sensitively to violence
against women, including human trafficking.

¶B. IMMIGRATION AND EMIGRATION PATTERNS: Approximately one million
passengers transited Manila’s North Harbor in 2008, the country’s
largest port; as many as half were in search of employment
opportunities. Despite efforts to guard major port areas, the

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government did not have sufficient resources to adequately monitor
its borders. With more than 7,000 islands, fully monitoring
maritime borders was virtually impossible given the limited
resources of the maritime services.

The Philippine Coast Guard, under the Department of Transportation
and Communication, intercepted some ferries in order to identify
trafficked victims and illegal recruiters in coordination with
private shipping companies. The Maritime Police conducted
investigations upon the disembarkation of passengers. It referred
victims of trafficking to government agencies or local NGOs for
further assistance.

Owners, managers, and key personnel of shipping companies conducted
regular orientation and awareness seminars with their crews to
educate them on ways to identify and report suspected trafficking
victims onboard. Often, shipping companies assisted in facilitating
the repatriation of minors by offering discounted fares.

In February 2007, IACAT established its first anti-trafficking task
force at Manila’s international airport. The Ninoy Aquino
International Airport Task Force Against Trafficking in Persons
included representatives from the Manila International Airport
Authority, the Airport Police Department, BI, NBI, PNP, Pasay City
Prosecutor’s Office, POEA, Bureau of Customs, DFA, CFO, DSWD, and
the Airline Operators Council. The Task Force, through USG
assistance, helped improve information-sharing across agencies in
order to improve the interception, investigation, and prosecution of
traffickers, as well as to coordinate immediate assistance to
trafficking victims.

¶C. COORDINATION AND COMMUNICATION BETWEEN GOVERNMENT AGENCIES: The
Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking in Persons (IACAT), through
its regular monthly meetings, coordinated, monitored, and oversaw
the implementation of the Anti-TIP Law, and served as an umbrella
organization to coordinate anti-TIP efforts in the Philippines. The
DOJ and DSWD Secretaries co-chaired the IACAT, which also included
representatives from DFA, DOLE, POEA, NCRFW, NBI, BI, and the PNP,
as well as three NGOs representing women, children, and overseas
Filipino workers. The DOJ allocated two million pesos (41,554 USD)
for IACAT’s 2009 activities, the first time IACAT has ever received
a budget.

In addition to the national-level IACAT, the government continued to
create local and regional inter-agency councils against TIP. The
local IACATs similarly included various government agencies, local
government units, and NGOs. As of 2008, there were 15 regional
IACATs, 15 provincial IACATs, 17 city IACATS, and 34 municipal
IACATs, in addition to other bodies that were not part of the formal
IACAT structure. Alongside the local IACATs, local task forces in
some hot spot areas coordinated law enforcement and prosecution
efforts.

In 2008, IACAT expanded its efforts to standardize the government’s
approach to the problem of trafficking and the treatment of its
victims. During the reporting period, IACAT drafted and approved
guidelines for the protection of the rights of trafficked children
and, in cooperation with NCRFW, drafted and approved similar
guidelines for the protection and rights of women. IACAT also
released a manual on the recovery and reintegration of trafficking
victims and, with NCRFW, developed government performance standards
for handling cases of violence against women, including trafficking.
IACAT compiled local ordinances on trafficking and refined them
into model ordinances for local government use in implementing
anti-trafficking regulations at the local level.

The DFA’s Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) chairs the
interagency Presidential Task Force on Human Trafficking which
conducts surveillance and entrapment operations in coordination with
law enforcement and immigration agencies, conducts community
education, and provides legal and psycho-social services to
trafficking victims.

President Arroyo appointed Vice President Noli De Castro in October
to lead a new interagency anti-illegal recruitment task force

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composed of the DFA, POEA, BI, and the CIDG. The task force
intercepts overseas-bound Filipinos at risk for trafficking and
arrests recruiters who victimize overseas-bound Filipinos. In the
first five weeks of 2009, the task force intercepted approximately
50 Filipinos with fraudulent travel documents or suspicious
itineraries who were at risk for trafficking. At the local level,
Anti-Illegal Recruitment Coordinating Councils assisted government
agencies to develop strategies to improve anti-illegal recruitment
programs.

The DOJ led a National Task Force on the Protection of Women Against
Abuse, Exploitation, and Discrimination, as well as a Task Force on
Child Protection, to address cases of violence against women and
children.

Local Councils for the Protection of Children existed at the
provincial, city, municipality, and village levels to assist in
identifying conditions related to child abuse, neglect, and
exploitation, and to facilitate immediate responses to reported
cases of child abuse and exploitation.

Both the Office of the Ombudsman and the Presidential Anti-Graft
Commission pursued official corruption cases and coordinated the
government’s anti-corruption efforts.

¶D. NATIONAL PLAN OF ACTION TO ADDRESS TRAFFICKING: The government
maintained its national action plan to address TIP, originally
developed with NGO input. IACAT lead the implementation of the plan
involving DOJ, DSWD, DOLE, and other government agencies. All
agencies involved in IACAT shared responsibilities for developing
and implementing anti-trafficking programs. As co-chair of IACAT,
DOJ ensured the protection of persons accused of trafficking,
provided access to free government or NGO legal assistance, and
trained prosecutors in handling trafficking-related cases. DSWD
took the lead in implementing rehabilitative and protective programs
for trafficked persons and providing victims with counseling and
temporary shelter. DSWD also developed a system for accreditation
among NGOs in order to establish centers and programs for
intervention at the community level.

¶E. GOVERNMENT EFFORTS TO REDUCE DEMAND FOR COMMERCIAL SEX ACTS: The
government, given its limited resources, did not have specific
programs aimed at reducing the demand for commercial sex acts.
However, several NGOs, including the Coalition Against Trafficking
in Women, sponsored demand reduction programs targeting teenage
males in some communities.

¶F. GOVERNMENT EFFORTS TO REDUCE PARTICIPATION IN INTERNATIONAL CHILD
SEX TOURISM BY NATIONALS: As a destination country for child sex
tourists, the Philippine government focused its limited resources on
fighting child sex tourism inside the country.

¶G. INTERNATIONAL PEACEKEEPING TROOPS: The Philippines deployed a
total of 626 military and police personnel in United Nations
peacekeeping missions. Before deploying troops to peacekeeping
operations, the Department of National Defense and the PNP conducted
seminars and training for peacekeepers, including a training module
on trafficking in persons. The DFA also provided pre-departure
orientation seminars to Foreign Service officers and other
government personnel, including military and police, before being
assigned abroad.
KENNEY

   

 

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