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http://wikileaks.org/cable/2007/03/07MANILA688.html#

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MANILA688 2007-03-01 11:20 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Manila
VZCZCXRO1487
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #0688/01 0601120
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 011120Z MAR 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5485
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING IMMEDIATE 6007
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL IMMEDIATE 2488
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO IMMEDIATE 3080
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHIN/AIT TAIPEI IMMEDIATE 1423
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEAWJB/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEAHLC/HOMELAND SECURITY CENTER WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 18 MANILA 000688

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR G/TIP – SNEUMANN, MTAYLOR
STATE ALSO FOR G, INL, DRL, PRM, IWI, EAP/RSP, EAP/MTS
LABOR FOR ILAB
PASS TO USAID FOR ANE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM KCRM KWMN SMIG KFRD PREF ELAB RP
SUBJECT: PHILIPPINES — SEVENTH ANNUAL TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS REPORT

REF: A. 06 STATE 202745
¶B. 06 MANILA 944

(U) This cable is Sensitive but Unclassified — Please
handle accordingly.

¶1. (U) Mission’s seventh annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP)
report follows below. The report covers the period from
April 2006 to March 2007. Point of contact (POC) is
Political Officer Barry Fullerton, FullertonTB@State.Gov,
(632) 528-6300 x2350, fax (632) 523-1195. Rank of TIP action
officer is FS-04. Estimated completion time for report: SFS
officer: 2 hours; FS-02 officers: 8 hours; FS-04 officers:
100 hours; FSN: 80 hours.

========
Overview
========

¶2. (SBU) The answers below are keyed to the format contained
in Ref A, Para 27:

¶A. The Philippines is an origin, destination and, to a
lesser extent, transit country for men, women, and children
trafficked for sexual exploitation and forced labor.
Trafficking also occurs within the country’s borders.
Estimates of various NGOs and government agencies vary
significantly — some putting the number of Filipinos
trafficked internally, into Southeast Asia, and beyond, at
hundreds of 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.

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 factory
workers, domestic helpers, or prostitutes. Victims of
trafficking for sexual exploitation are generally girls, aged
7 to 16 years old. 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.

The Philippine government (GRP) has no central database of
trafficking information; however, various GRP agencies and
non-government organizations document cases of trafficking.
The GRP’s Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking in Persons
(IACAT) hopes to create a central database for tracking cases
of TIP by 2008. In 2006, the Department of Social Welfare
and Development reported to have provided services to 1,567
victims of trafficking or potential victims of trafficking in
¶2006. The Solidarity Center/Trade Union Congress of the
Philippines Anti-Trafficking Project recorded a total of 29
trafficking and trafficking-related incidents involving 223
victims from April 2006 to February 2007.

Sources of information involved in the preparation of this
report include the following GRP 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 input: the American Center for International Labor
Solidarity (ACILS); Trade Union Congress of the Philippines
(TUCP); the Visayan Forum Foundation (VFF); The Asia
Foundation (TAF); and the International Justice Mission
(IJM). Some information stemmed from media reports.

MANILA 00000688 002 OF 018

¶B. 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.
Often, foreign trafficking rings brought the victims to
destinations throughout Asia, Europe, the Middle East, North
America, and South Africa. International organized crime
gangs also trafficked persons from mainland China through the
Philippines to third country destinations. Occasionally, the
Philippines was the final destination point for persons
trafficked from China.

The GRP made some progress in combating trafficking in 2006,
particularly in the areas of law enforcement coordination and
victim protection and assistance. However, there were no new
convictions under the 2003 Anti-TIP Law since convictions in
December 2005, despite dozens of TIP cases pending or already
on trial in the courts. Slow processing times, as well as
corruption within GRP law enforcement agencies, appeared to
be the key obstacles to additional convictions. Local
non-governmental organizations (NGOs) continued to provide
assistance to victims and placed pressure on GRP officials to
bolster anti-TIP activities.

After the passage of the anti-trafficking legislation in May
2003 (R.A.9208), the government established the Task Force on
Anti-Trafficking in Persons, which is composed of 17
prosecutors from the DOJ who focused specifically on
trafficking. Additionally, approximately 72 prosecutors in
regional DOJ offices focused on trafficking in persons. DOJ
continued to lead the GRP’s efforts, with the Secretary of
Justice acting as Chair of the GRP’s anti-TIP coordinating
body, the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking in Persons.

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and her administration
frequently spoke out in public about the evils of trafficking
and the efforts of the GRP to combat TIP. They made clear
there was zero tolerance by the GRP relating to TIP in any
form. In her State of the Nation Address (SONA) on June 24,
2006, President Arroyo cited the convictions of human
traffickers as an important accomplishment resulting in the
removal of the Philippines from the State Department’s Tier
Two Watchlist. On December 12, 2006, the President issued
Proclamation No. 1172, declaring December 12 as the National
Day Against Trafficking in Persons.

The Anti-TIP Law codified stiff penalties against traffickers
in women and children and against users or buyers of
prostituted victims. Under R.A. 9208, trafficking violators
face a penalty from six years to life imprisonment and a fine
ranging from P500,000 to P5 million (10,200 USD – 102,000
USD). Trafficking became a non-bailable offense. The law
also entitled victims and survivors to counseling, temporary
shelter, health care, legal assistance, and access to the
government’s witness protection program. In 2006,
prosecutors investigated and pursued 62 cases of alleged
trafficking under R.A. 9208.

While government agencies undertook extensive efforts
worldwide to fight trafficking, inadequate funding was a
chronic problem throughout the government in all fields.
Anti-trafficking resources focused 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.

In coordination with DOLE, the DFA, through its Philippine
embassies, took the lead in protecting the rights of migrant
workers abroad. Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLOs),
the operating arm and overseas representative of DOLE, were

MANILA 00000688 003 OF 018

under the supervision of the Philippine Chief of Mission or
Ambassador. Thirty-nine labor attaches served at thirty-four
POLOs around the world at Philippine diplomatic missions.
Posts with a high number of overseas Filipino workers (OFW),
such as Hong Kong, Singapore, Jeddah, Dhahrain/Al-Khobar,
Dubai, Kuwait, and London, employed more than one labor
attach to deal with the large caseloads. OFWs reported
contract violations or abuse to POLOs who, in turn, referred
the cases to the DFA or DOLE. POLOs provided access to
rescue and repatriation, custodial and legal assistance,
temporary shelter, and medical aid.

DSWD was the responsible agency for the social reintegration
of victims of trafficking once they returned home. DSWD
operated 42 temporary shelters for victims throughout the
country. Thirteen of these shelters were supported by the
Congressional Spouses Foundation, Inc. (CSFI), a non-profit
charity organization. In addition to DSWD’s services within
the Philippines, eight 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 OFWs in distress, and
worked in conjunction with POLOs. A social welfare attach
in Malaysia coordinated with the Malaysian government in
rescuing and repatriating victims of trafficking and other
forms of abuse. DSWD also assigned two social workers to
work with the NGO International Social Service (ISS) in Hong
Kong and in Tokyo.

The Philippines was only occasionally a destination point for
internationally trafficked individuals. Reports indicated
trafficking from China, South Korea, and Russia of women to
engage in prostitution. Internal trafficking generally
included women from the Visayas and Mindanao regions to major
metro areas to work as domestic servants or small-factory
workers, as well as in the drug trade and in the commercial
sex industry. Many were victims of traffickers from their
local areas. Victims were often subject to violence,
threats, debt bondage, and withholding of documents.

Traffickers most often targeted the multitudes of workers
seeking overseas and urban employment. (More than 1,000,000
Filipino workers engaged in temporary overseas work
assignment to all parts of the world in 2006. An estimated
12 percent of GDP 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 aged 10 to 15 also
ended up as commercial sex workers. Traffickers often 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. Traffickers used fake
travel documents, falsified permits, and altered birth
certificates.

¶C. The GRP’s ability to address the problem remained limited
by inadequate funding, including for police. Corruption in
the government and the general ineffectiveness of the
judicial system were also factors that impeded the GRP’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. Many GRP agencies
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. While the GRP allocated resources
through the DSWD to aid victims, funding was insufficient.

MANILA 00000688 004 OF 018

National and international NGOs and other foreign donors
(including the USG) complemented official GRP programs.

¶D. The GRP had no central database of trafficking
information. Several agencies maintained their own separate
databases, but many of these 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 GRP
database on migration.

The DILG tasked the National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM) to
maintain a database of trafficking cases based on the
quarterly reports from PNP. In December 2006, the DILG
directed the PNP to monitor trafficking cases and to provide
information to the NAPOLCOM database, which NAPOLCOM began to
make operational.

GRP officials involved in anti-TIP activities 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.

==========
PREVENTION
==========

¶3. (SBU) The answers below are keyed to the format contained
in Ref A, Para 28:

¶A. The GRP considered trafficking a serious issue and
actively took steps to combat trafficking. President Arroyo
and her administration frequently spoke out in public about
the evils of trafficking and the efforts of the GRP to combat
TIP. They made clear the GRP has zero tolerance for TIP in
any form. Senior officials also stressed that the GRP would
not condone official complicity in such trafficking. In June
2005, PNP arrested and DOJ charged police officer Dennis Reci
for allegedly trafficking minors to engage in sexual slavery
at his nightclub in Manila (which authorities shut down).
Trial hearings were still ongoing; however, a decision is
expected in 2007.

In December 2006, POEA issued new employment requirements for
overseas Filipino household workers better to protect them
from widespread employer abuse and trafficking in persons.
The new requirements increased the monthly minimum wage from
US$200 to US$400 and raised the minimum age from 18 to 23.
In addition, household workers must obtain a certificate of
competency to attest to their skills and employers to submit
employment contracts for verification. POEA acknowledged the
measures were necessary because, while household workers
accounted for approximately 10 percent of all overseas
workers, they represented 90 percent of all complaints to
Filipino labor attaches worldwide.

¶B. Several cabinet level agencies and sub-agencies actively
worked to combat trafficking in the Philippines. The IACAT
coordinated, monitored, and oversaw the implementation of
R.A. 9208, and served as an umbrella organization to
coordinate anti-TIP efforts. The DOJ Secretary and the DSWD
Secretary co-chaired IACAT. Other member agencies included

SIPDIS
DFA, DOLE, POEA, NCRFW, NBI, BI, and the PNP. Three NGOs
representing women, children, and overseas Filipino workers
were also part of the IACAT.

On September 20-22, 2006, the IACAT, in partnership and with
support from the donor community, held the First National

MANILA 00000688 005 OF 018

Conference on Anti-trafficking in Persons in Manila. The
national conference brought together government
organizations, NGOs, and civil society groups to facilitate a
multi-sectoral assessment of the initial progress in the
implementation of the national strategic action plan against
trafficking in persons; generate concrete, doable, and
measurable commitments from various sectors including funding
organizations; and share relevant experiences, good
practices, and success stories.

In August 2006, the GRP created the Task Force Against
Illegal Recruitment (TFAIR) to develop strategies against
illegal recruitment activities, such as escort services at
international airports. The DFA’s Commission on Filipinos
Overseas (CFO) chaired the task force, with representatives
from PNP, NBI, and other law enforcement agencies as members.

Various other GRP agencies’ efforts in anti-trafficking
included:

— 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 CFO provided
pre-departure orientation and counseling services and offered
liaison services to Filipinos immigrating overseas with the
help of other GRP and private agencies. The CFO also
coordinated with the BI regarding the apprehension of
violators;

— The DFA’s Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers
Affairs (OUMWA) addressed trafficking issues involving
migrant workers. It worked in conjunction with other GRP
agencies, overseas workers, their families, NGOs, and
religious groups to deliver assistance to Philippine
nationals;

— DSWD focused on the protection of victims. It implemented
rehabilitative and protective programs for trafficked
persons. It also provided temporary shelter to trafficked
persons and abused women in coordination with NGOs;

— DOLE was responsible for coordinating the GRP 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.
It also monitored, documented, and reported cases of
trafficking in persons involving employers and labor
recruiters. DOLE officers worked as labor attaches at
Philippine diplomatic missions and spent much of their time
assisting overseas workers;

— 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. In countries with large numbers of OFWs, an OWWA
officer often served as Assistant Labor Attach;

— DOJ 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, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP),
and NGOs. Fourteen prosecutors at the national office and
about 45 prosecutors in regional offices specifically focused
on trafficking cases;

— NBI, PNP, and the National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM)
worked to identify, investigate, and dismantle trafficking
operations and prosecute offenders. The NBI created a task
force on the protection of women against exploitation and
abuse, and a separate task force on the protection of
children;

MANILA 00000688 006 OF 018

— DILG conducted systematic information and prevention
campaigns, and was creating a databank for the efficient
monitoring, documentation, and prosecution of cases of
trafficking in persons;

— NCRFW instituted development plans for women and provided
technical assistance in setting up and strengthening response
to gender issues. It formulated and monitored policies on
trafficking in persons in coordination with relevant
government agencies;

— BI administered and enforced immigration and alien
administration laws and adopted measures for the apprehension
of suspected traffickers both at the place of arrival and
departure. It ensured the compliance of Filipinos engaged or
married to foreign nationals with the guidance and counseling
requirements in the trafficking law. It also controlled and
monitored border points by deploying deputized marines to
help enforce immigration laws;

— POEA, affiliated with DOLE, was the primary administrator
of licenses for recruitment agencies. An average of 3,000 —
and as many as 5,000 — citizens visited POEA’s main office
each day, seeking employment overseas. Recruitment agencies
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
orientation seminars and pre-departure counseling programs to
applicants for 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 trafficked victims.
According to POEA, the majority of trafficking cases reported
to labor attaches occurred in Malaysia, followed by Korea,
Japan, and the Middle East as a region;

— PCTC collected information for the effective monitoring,
documentation, and prosecution of trafficking cases.

¶C. GRP agencies increased the frequency of their TIP
information and education campaigns, mostly thanks to funding
by bilateral international donor agencies.

— The GRP, through IACAT, produced an anti-TIP infomercial
that aired on local TV networks throughout the country in
¶2006. The infomercial provided basic information about TIP
as well as information on how to report incidents to proper
authorities;

— NCRFW, in partnership with End Child Prostitution and
Trafficking (ECPAT), the Coalition Against Trafficking of
Women ) Asia Pacific (CATW-AP), and other NGOs, conducted
community awareness and education campaigns throughout the
country in 2006;

— POEA conducted nearly 1,000 pre-employment orientation
seminars for more than 60,000 departing overseas Filipino
workers (OFWs) in 2006. These seminars sought to educate the
OFWs on the risks and rewards of overseas employment. The
seminar module included a video presentation on trafficking
in persons;

— In 2006, IACAT, in collaboration with ECPAT, CATW-AP, and
USAID, conducted road show campaigns against human
trafficking in two provinces (Samar and Baguio) identified as
TIP &hotspot8 areas. The road shows aimed to raise the
level of awareness in the community, especially for potential
victims of trafficking and their families;

— From April 2006 to February 2007, the ACILS/TUCP
Anti-Trafficking Project conducted public awareness
activities on TIP in 14 regions of the country. ACILS also
distributed information, education, and communication

MANILA 00000688 007 OF 018

materials on migration and trafficking issues to youth,
women, civic and faith-based groups;

¶D. The GRP supported numerous additional programs to prevent
trafficking. It promoted women’s participation in economic
decision-making and efforts to keep children enrolled in
school. It provided skills training for women and access to
capital via micro-loans to create new jobs. The goals of
these efforts were to promote the local economy and lessen
the need for women to go to urban centers or abroad to earn
money.

DOLE was the lead agency of the National Program Against
Child Labor (NPACL), a comprehensive inter-agency response to
child labor in the Philippines. The program focused on
preventing children from becoming victims of the worst forms
of child labor (including trafficking) and ensuring that
victims would receive protection and reintegration into
society.

The CFO counseled Filipinos engaged or married to foreign
nationals and provided information on intermarriage,
migration, rights, and obligations, as well as available
support networks abroad. Counseling sessions help to
identify women at-risk of trafficking and foreigners engaging
in trafficking activities under the pretext of intermarriage.
In order to obtain a marriage certificate, local registrars
required that foreigners obtain a “Legal Capacity to Marry”
statement from their embassy, attesting they were not married
abroad.

DSWD provided social protection and promoted the rights and
welfare of the disadvantaged sector. DSWD posted social
workers at international airports to monitor the travel of
minors abroad. The Crisis Intervention Unit of DSWD’s Quick
Response Team served the needs of women victims of
trafficking by strengthening and establishing working
arrangements with government, non-government, professional,
and civic organizations. Other efforts included organizing
support groups and providing psycho-social, medical, legal
and counseling services.

The Bureau of Non-Formal Education, an agency under the
Department of Education (DepEd), developed learning modules
for Parents of Working Children (PWC) in various regions with
high incidence of the worst forms of child labor. Translated
into local dialects, the modules educated parents about their
children’s health needs and basic rights and opportunities
for livelihood and income-generating projects. DepEd also
operated a home study program designed to prevent students
from quitting school due to poverty, illness, or early
marriage. With assistance from POEA and CFO, DepEd
incorporated lessons on international migration (including
illegal recruitment and mail order brides) into social
studies and values education in public elementary and high
schools throughout the country.

The POEA conducted pre-departure seminars for migrant
workers, covering topics such as contracts, wages, benefits,
etc. It also provided comprehensive community education and
programs on trafficking.

¶E. The relationship among GRP officials, NGOs, and other
elements of civil society concerned with trafficking issues
was excellent. NGOs assisted the government in preventing
trafficking activities, protecting and reintegrating
trafficking victims, and prosecuting traffickers. NGOs often
referred trafficking victims to GRP agencies, as the NGOs
lacked the necessary funding fully to help victims and their
families. GRP agencies recognized the importance of engaging
NGOs in their advocacy programs. Several GRP agencies had
NGO desks that oversaw GRP-NGO coordination. Additionally,
three NGOs focused on women, children, and OFWs were part of
the IACAT.

MANILA 00000688 008 OF 018

Two examples of strong NGO-government relationships were the
experiences of the Visayan Forum Foundation and the
International Justice Mission. The VFF coordinated closely
with local law enforcement and private industry in rescuing
trafficking victims at Manila’s North Harbor and other ports.
From April 2006 to January 2007, the VFF assisted 2,920
victims of trafficking at major port areas. Since 2001, the
IJM, a US-based NGO employing private Filipino investigators
and prosecutors, coordinated with the GRP to increase the
number of pro bono prosecutions in the country, including
under the 2003 anti-trafficking law. IJM investigated and
gathered evidence against establishments that employed
prostitutes and children, and shared this information with
the NBI and the PNP. IJM’s private prosecutors then filed
criminal cases for sexually abused women and children. IJM
and DOJ prosecutors coordinated in pursuing legal cases. The
U.S. Department of State’s International Narcotics and Law
Enforcement Bureau (INL) funded in 2004 a two-year project
for IJM to accelerate prosecutions nationwide.

¶F. Approximately five million passengers transited Manila’s
North Harbor annually, the country’s largest port. As many
as half were in search of employment. Despite efforts to
guard major port areas, the GRP did not have sufficient
resources adequately to 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 (DOTC), 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 GRP 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 will 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. IACAT plans to establish similar task forces at the
airports in Cebu, Davao, and Zamboanga.

¶G. The IACAT 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 Secretary and the DWSD Secretary
co-chaired the IACAT. Other member agencies included DFA,
DOLE, POEA, NCRFW, NBI, BI, and the PNP. Three NGOs
representing women, children, and overseas Filipino workers
were also part of the IACAT.

In addition to the national-level IACAT, the GRP created
local and regional inter-agency councils against TIP. The
local IACATs similarly included various GRP agencies, local
government units, and NGOs. Alongside the local IACATs,
local task forces in some hot spot areas coordinated law
enforcement and prosecution efforts.

MANILA 00000688 009 OF 018

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 violation cases
against women and children.

The Anti-Illegal Recruitment Coordinating Councils (AIRCCs)
served as a venue at the grassroots level for consultation
and information sharing to map out strategies in improving
the GRP’s anti-illegal recruitment programs.

The Sub-Committee on Human Trafficking of the National Law
Enforcement Coordinating Committee (NALECC) met regularly for
data sharing on human trafficking cases and adopting measures
to improve coordination.

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 GRP’s anti-corruption efforts.

¶H. The GRP had a national plan to address TIP, created with
NGO input. IACAT implemented the plan involving DOJ, DSWD,
DOLE, and other agencies. All agencies involved in IACAT had
shared responsibilities for developing and implementing
anti-trafficking programs. As co-chair of IACAT, the DOJ
ensured the protection of persons accused of trafficking,
provided access to free GRP 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. It also
developed a system for accreditation among NGOs in order to
establish centers and programs for intervention at the
community level.

============================================
INVESTIGATION AND PROSECUTION OF TRAFFICKERS
============================================

¶4. (SBU) The answers below are keyed to the format contained
in Ref A, Para 29.

¶A. The Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003 (Republic Act
9208) is the Philippine landmark legislation in protecting
women and children from sexual exploitation and forced labor.
The law affirmed the GRP’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. If the victim of
trafficking was a minor, the recruitment, transportation,
transfer, harboring, or receipt of the child for the purpose
of exploitation was enough to file a case against a
trafficker. There was no need to show that such acts were
made through threats, use of force, or other coercive
measures.

In addition to the anti-trafficking law, the GRP used several
laws to prosecute traffickers, including: the Migrant
Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act (Republic Act 8042), which
gave the GRP the authority to combat illegal recruiting; the
Mail-Order Bride Law (Republic Act 6955), which made it
unlawful under exploitative circumstances for Filipino women
to marry foreign men; the Inter-Country Adoption Act of 1995
(Republic Act 8043), which ensured the protection of 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 traffickers; and the
Anti-Child Labor Law (Republic Act 9231), which prohibited
the employment of children below 15 except when granted

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special permission by DOLE, and guaranteed the protection,
health, and safety of child workers.

¶B. The Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003 imposed harsh
penalties on persons engaged in trafficking. The law
distinguished 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 (20,400 USD – 40,800 USD) and 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 (10,200 USD
– 20,400 USD). The maximum penalty was if the victim was a
child, if conducted on a large scale, or if the crime
involved military or law enforcement agencies and public
officers or employees, which could result in life
imprisonment and a fine of P2 million to P5 million (40,800
USD – 102,000 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
(1,020 USD) to a maximum of one-year imprisonment and a fine
of P100,000 (2,040 USD).

¶C. The Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003 prescribed
the same penalties for forced or bonded labor as for sexual
exploitation. The law clearly stated that it was 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 (10,200 USD – 20,400 USD).

¶D. Under Republic Act 8353, the Anti-Rape Law of 1997, the
penalty for rape ranged from life imprisonment to death.
Under Republic Act 7877, or the Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of
1995, any person who violated the provisions of the act shall
face imprisonment of not less than one month or more than six
months, or a fine of up to P20,000 (400 USD), or both a fine
and imprisonment.

¶E. Prostitution was illegal, but remained widespread. Many
prostitutes worked independently in small brothels rather
than in prominent entertainment clubs. Hostesses, referred
to as “guest relations officers” (GROs), sometimes engaged in
illegal prostitution, although their employers usually barred
them from leaving an establishment with a customer. The GRP
required GROs to undergo frequent health checks.

An anti-prostitution bill was under consideration in the
House of Representatives in its 13th session. It would
punish those involved in the industry, such as pimps and
brothel owners, while decriminalizing the action of those
exploited in the prostitution industry. The draft bill
stated that women and children who engaged in prostitution
could be victims and should be free from criminal liability.
It also stated that people exploited in prostitution were
entitled to support, protection, and may seek legal redress.

¶F. In 2006, law enforcement agencies filed 60 trafficking
cases with DOJ. Of these, DOJ filed 26 in court, while the
rest were in preliminary investigation. In total, DOJ had
ongoing prosecutions in 97 cases, including cases filed in
previous years. Courts in 2005 convicted four individuals in
two cases under the 2003 anti-trafficking law. All four
convicted traffickers received life sentences because the
crime was determined to be “qualified trafficking” due to the
involvement of minors as victims and of organized trafficking
syndicates. Their appeals were ongoing. Three of the
convicted traffickers were in jail serving their sentences,
while one was out on bail pending his appeal. In addition,
two traffickers pled guilty to the lesser charge of using the

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services of a trafficking victim in November 2005, resulting
in a sentence of six months community service. There were no
new convictions under the Anti-TIP Law during this reporting
period. However, the absence of new convictions did not
necessarily reflect an unwillingness to prosecute or convict;
instead, it reflected a judicial process that on average
takes three years from the filing of charges to resolution of
a case. There were convictions under related legislation,
such as child abuse and illegal recruitment.

Under certain circumstances and with approval of the court,
Philippine law permitted private prosecutors to prosecute
cases under the direction and control of a public prosecutor.
The GRP used this provision effectively, allowing and
supporting IJM to investigate and prosecute trafficking
cases. In addition to DOJ’s ongoing TIP cases, IJM initiated
23 criminal cases of qualified trafficking against suspected
traffickers. Of these 23 cases, ten were on trial at the end
of the reporting period, three were in preliminary hearings,
five were under investigation, three were in arraignment, and
two were pending review with the DOJ.

The GRP’s system of collecting and maintaining data on
criminal activity in general was inefficient but improving,
including on trafficking. The IACAT provided its best
available information for this report in a pro-active and
helpfully responsive manner.

¶G. NGOs reported that organized crime syndicates from Japan
and China controlled most of 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 Filipino women in
their mid-40s or older to seek out victims, given a belief
that older women were the least likely to harm younger women.

¶H. The GRP 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. From April 2006 to
December 2006, PNP investigated 31 cases of trafficking,
involving 35 victims, of whom 32 were children and 3 were
women. PNP recommended 29 cases to the DOJ for 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 typically went to NBI for further
investigation.

Private attorneys working for NGOs such as the IJM and VFF
could file trafficking cases on behalf of victims. The
Anti-Wiretapping Act of 1965 did not authorize most forms of
electronic surveillance, although a new &Human Security Act
of 20078 that Congress approved in February 2007 will expand
such coverage.

¶I. GRP agencies continued to increase the frequency of TIP
training and orientation efforts. The programs included
training for several thousand officials, including
prosecutors, judges, NBI investigators, local government
units, and city councilors. In 2006, the IACAT, under
USAID’s Rule of Law Effectiveness Program, conducted training
and consultations with prosecutors and law enforcers on
investigating and prosecuting trafficking in persons cases

MANILA 00000688 012 OF 018

and seminars on effective coordination and networking against
TIP.

In September 2006, the IACAT, in coordination with UNICEF,
USAID, and TAF, hosted the first National Conference to
Combat Trafficking in Persons. These events brought together
hundreds of officials and NGO leaders to develop an anti-TIP
strategy and action plan for 2007.

In 2006, BI trained many of its immigration officers on
gender-sensitivity, as well child-friendly investigation
techniques.

¶J. The GRP cooperated with other governments in the
investigation and prosecution of TIP cases, including with
Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong, and Sweden.
Because there was no central database linking the various law
enforcement agencies, there was no certain total number of
cooperative investigations conducted. 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. Having
completed Phase I of an agreement with the United Nations
Center for International Crime Prevention-Office for Drug
Control and Crime Prevention (CICP/ODCCP) to gather
information on organized criminal groups involved in
trafficking, the DSWD began to implemented the second phase
of a project to provide capacity building to service
providers in havens for women and children, rehabilitate
trafficked victims by providing full security, financial
assistance, and non-formal training, and establish linkages
with the business community for possible internship programs.

¶K. Philippine law permitted extradition, and the Philippines
had extradition treaties with Australia, Canada, the
Federated States of Micronesia, Hong Kong, Indonesia,
Republic of Korea, Switzerland, the United States, and the
Kingdom of Thailand. Under the terms of the 2003
anti-trafficking law, trafficking in persons was an
extraditable offense. However, the government received no
extradition requests for trafficking offenders, foreign or
national.

¶L. There was no evidence establishing official involvement
in, or tolerance of, trafficking on a local and institutional
level. However, officials (such as customs officers, border
guards, immigration officials, local police or others)
allegedly received bribes from traffickers or otherwise
assisted in their operations.

¶M. The Office of the Ombudsman conducted regular
investigations into corruption allegations. In June 2005,
DOJ charged a Manila police officer for violating the
Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act, leading to the arrest of
Officer Dennis Reci for allegedly trafficking minors for
sexual exploitation at his nightclub in Manila (which
authorities shut down). He remained under detention at the
Manila City Jail; the trial hearing continued.

¶N. Child sex tourism continued to be a serious problem for
the Philippines. Sex tourists reportedly came from Europe,
the United States, and parts of Asia to engage in sexual
activity with minors. The GRP cooperated with the USG in
prosecuting American nationals under the terms of the U.S.
PROTECT Act of 2003, which criminalized the commission by
American nationals overseas of child abuse, including child
pornography and other sexual offenses against a minor. The
Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement of the U.S.
Department of Homeland Security noted the stellar cooperation
from the GRP in three notable PROTECT Act cases involving

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Edilberto Datan, Bernard Lawrence Russell, and John W.
Seljan. In each case, the individuals traveled to the
Philippines to engage in sexual activity with minors. All
three received convictions; courts also ordered Edilberto
Datan and Bernard Russell to pay restitution fees to their
victims.

¶O. The GRP signed and ratified the following international
instruments:

— ILO Convention 182 Concerning the Prohibition and
Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of
Child Labor: ratified in October 2000;

— ILO Convention 105 on the Abolition of Forced Labor:
ratified in November 1960;

— ILO Convention 29 Concerning Forced Labor: ratified on
July 15, 2005;

— Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in
Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the
Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime: ratified in
October 2001;

— Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child
Prostitution and
Child Pornography supplementing the Convention on the Rights
of the Child: ratified in April 2002;

— Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons
and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others:
ratified in September 1952;

— International Convention for the Suppression of the
Traffic in Women and Children: ratified in September 1954;

— International Convention for the Suppression of the
Traffic in Women of Full Age: ratified in September 1954;

— United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms
of Discrimination Against Women: ratified in May 1981;

— United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child:
ratified in September 1990;

— UN International Convention on the Protection of the
Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families:
ratified on July 1995;

— Oslo Agenda of Action on Child Labor: ratified in December
1991;

— 1996 Stockholm Declaration and Agenda for Action Against
Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children: ratified in
December 1992;

— The Optional Protocol on the Suppression of Trafficking in
Persons Especially Women and Children: ratified in October
2001;

— UN Convention on Transnational Crime: ratified in May 2002.

====================================
PROTECTION AND ASSISTANCE TO VICTIMS
====================================

¶5. (SBU) The answers below are keyed to the format contained
in Ref A, Para 30.

¶A. The GRP assisted victims by providing temporary residency
status, relief from deportation, shelter, and access to
legal, medical, and psychological services. Additional
protective services included telephone hotlines for reporting
abused/exploited cases of women and children.

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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. DSWD maintained 42 residential care units; of
these, 13 centers were for women, 13 for girls, 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
also referred cases to accredited NGOs for children and
accredited NGOs for women, which provided temporary shelter
and community services to women and children in crisis,
including victims of trafficking. During 2006, the DSWD
assisted 1,567 people through its residential and community
based services.

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 GRP.

The Philippines AIDS Prevention and Control Act required
documented Overseas Filipino Workers to participate in a
HIV/AIDS seminar as part of the Pre-Departure Orientation
Seminar. Actual testing was only upon the request of the OFW
or if the country of destination so required, especially for
sea-based workers. The law did not provide mandatory
HIV/AIDS screening for trafficking victims. However, the
rate of HIV/AIDS in the Philippines remained low, although
often cases may have been underreported. UNAIDS estimated
that 12,000 people lived with HIV in the Philippines, but
this figure could grow quickly.

¶B. The GRP cooperated well with NGOs to support and provide
services to trafficking victims. The Philippine Ports
Authority’s Gender and Development (GAD) Focal Point Program,
an agency under the DOTC, provided the building and amenities
for a halfway house, which the VFF managed. 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.

In July 2006, VFF signed a 10-year agreement with the Manila
International Airport Authority to establish an airport
halfway house for TIP victims. Under this partnership, VFF
will also train 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. GRP partners included the DOJ, DOLE, DFA,
DILG, DSWD, National Police Commission, Philippine Ports
Authority (PPA), 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.

VFF, which the State Department’s Trafficking in Persons
Report highlighted in 2004 for its best practices, renewed a
five-year partnership agreement with the Philippine Ports
Authority to continue to operate halfway houses for victims
and potential victims of TIP, currently in Manila, Batangas,
Sorsogon, and Davao. It plans to open additional halfway
houses and safe houses for TIP victims in other regions.

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In general, NGOs cannot rely on government funding. They
typically turned to foreign governments, foreign and domestic
religious groups, third-country and multinational donor
agencies, and private foundations. However, the GRP remained
highly aware of the value of NGOs in combating trafficking,
and routinely sought cooperation and input from NGOs.

¶C. 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. After rescue operations, investigation, and
filing of cases, 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, and 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 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 four halfway
houses in strategic port areas in Manila, Davao, Batangas,
and Sorsogon, and 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.

¶D. 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 alleged
prostitutes, however.

¶E. The GRP actively encouraged victims to assist in the
investigation and prosecution of trafficking and related
crimes. Victims can file civil suits or seek legal action
against traffickers. The Secretary of Justice issued a DOJ
Circular 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 mandated that a single panel interview to avoid
the damaging effect of feeling re-victimized through a series
of repeated questioning. All fines by the courts on the
offenders accrue to a Trust Fund that IACAT administered,
which it used to prevent acts of trafficking, protect and
rehabilitate victims, and reintegrate trafficked persons into
the community.

¶F. 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 to dependents, and job security. However, some
witness protection participants complained of insufficient
security and of abusive guards. Moreover, due to lack of
resources to fund the program, many who would have liked to
participate could not. Many other potential witnesses may

MANILA 00000688 016 OF 018

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
actions against traffickers.

¶G. The GRP, through IACAT and with funding from USAID and
others, conducted regular training seminars for GRP
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.
Training on anti-trafficking in persons was in the
Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar (PDOS) for consular staff,
as well as Foreign Service officers and attaches en route to
foreign missions. ILO and the GRP’s Foreign Service
Institute (FSI) developed an anti-trafficking in persons
training module. The training module (in CD format) will
benefit DFA Foreign Service officers who were unable to
undergo anti-trafficking training through PDOS.

¶H. 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.

¶I. The vibrant local and international NGO community in the
Philippines included many 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, mainly 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. Services include referring
trafficking cases to member and partner organizations for
legal, counseling and support services, and documentation of
trafficking cases based on the Human Rights Information and
Documentation System used by a global network of
organizations concerned with human rights issues;

— VFF 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
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;

— 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

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welfare of workers and other disadvantaged groups, including
women, youth and children, and migrant workers. Its 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, and networking. With funding support
from the American Center for International Labor Solidarity
and the USG, TUCP conducted an anti-trafficking project
establishing a coalition of private sector organizations that
will coordinate with the government to ensure the
implementation of activities on trafficking in persons;

— ACILS, active in the Philippines since 1969, has an
extensive network with the GRP, NGOs, trade unions, academia,
and the business community. ACILS addresses labor issues,
including irregular migration and trafficking in persons. In
2003, ACILS established a multi-sectoral Technical Working
Group (TWG) to assist trafficking victims, monitor
trafficking developments, process inquiries and complaints,
and initiate filing of trafficking cases. TWG is composed of
37 organizations including 18 national government agencies,
and 19 trade union, NGOs, and advocacy groups;

— 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, the local branch 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 victim 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, and education and training.
Courses include Basic Migrants, Orientation, Migrant Rights,
Legal Remedies, and Gender Awareness and Sensitivity.
Kanlungan also intervenes at the grassroots level and
addresses the psycho-social and economic causes and effects
of migration by forging partnerships with other organizations
at the community level;

— 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.

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============================================= =============
Heroes and Best Practices — International Justice Mission
============================================= =============

¶6. (U) Our nominees for “Heroes” and “Best Practices” follow:

Anti-Trafficking Hero Nomination for 2007:

Patricia (&Patty8) Sison-Arroyo is a brilliant, tireless,
advocate against human trafficking in the Philippines and
regularly pressures the government to improve its prosecution
of human traffickers. She currently serves as IJM Executive
Director in the Philippines, and in this capacity, she
administers a U.S. Government-sponsored project to prosecute
cases on behalf of trafficking victims. Attorney
Sison-Arroyo’s support in both public and private spheres of
the legal battle against trafficking have been critical to
moving the anti-TIP agenda forward in the Philippines.
Embassy Manila recognized Attorney Sison-Arroyo’s significant
contributions to the anti-TIP efforts in the Philippines by
awarding her the 2006 Benigno Aquino Fellow for Public
Service. Through this fellowship, she traveled to several
U.S. cities to meet with American anti-TIP experts.

Anti-Trafficking Best Practices:

IJM continued to lead the non-governmental efforts to
prosecute human traffickers in the Philippines. Although IJM
investigations have not yet led to any convictions, IJM’s
private prosecutors were handling 23 separate criminal court
cases in conjunction with their GRP counterparts. Since IJM
started operations in the Philippines in 2001, IJM has
successfully rescued more than 100 children who were victims
of sexual exploitation, including alleged TIP victims. IJM
has also provided information to police leading to closure of
numerous bars that were employing and sexually exploiting
minor and adult victims of trafficking.

In February 2007, IJM began a training program with the
National Bureau of Investigation that can only be viewed as a
&best practice.8 In a week-long session with selected NBI
investigators, IJM not only trained the participants on the
investigative techniques under the 2003 anti-TIP law, but it
also conducted and led joint operations against two
metro-Manila area bars, suspected of trafficking minors. IJM
and NBI investigators conducted surveillance and raided the
two suspected bars, rescued 11 minors, and filed the
appropriate complaints with the DOJ against the bar owners
and employees. Embassy Manila congratulates IJM on its
tireless efforts as an NGO to improve the law enforcement and
prosecutorial abilities of the GRP to combat trafficking in
persons.
KENNEY

   

 

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