Oct 042014

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
2010-02-17 07:42
2011-08-30 01:44
Embassy Manila

DE RUEHML #0293/01 0480742
O 170742Z FEB 10 ZDK



E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: A. STATE 2024
¶B. MANILA 0212
¶C. 09 MANILA 2272

MANILA 00000293 001.4 OF 018

¶1. (U) This cable includes the Mission’s input for the 2010
Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report. The information and
statistics cover the period from mid-February 2009′ to
mid-February 2010, unless otherwise noted. The Mission’s TIP
point of contact is Political Officer Doreen Bailey,
BaileyDP@state.gov, tel. ( 63)(2) 301-5214, fax ( 63)(2)
301-2472. Rank of TIP action officer is FS-04. Estimated
completion time for report: SFS officer: 2 hours; FS-01
officers: 2 hours; FS-02 officers: 8 hours; FS-04 officers:
50 hours; FSN: 60 hours.


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

¶A. SOURCES OF INFORMATION: 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 Philippine Commission on Women (PCW).
The following NGOs also provided significant input: the
Visayan Forum Foundation (VFF); International Justice Mission
(IJM); The Asia Foundation (TAF); Coalition Against
Trafficking in Women, Asia Pacific (CATW-AP); and the Trade
Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP). Additional
information stemmed from media reports.

In December 2009, the Inter-Agency Council Against
Trafficking in Persons (IACAT) launched the Philippine
Anti-Trafficking in Persons Database (PATD), the first
integrated, comprehensive, multi-agency database to
standardize reporting on and track cases of trafficking, to
include victim information, social service delivery to
victims, and data from law enforcement on the status of case
investigation and prosecution. As the PATD was in its
initial stage of implementation during the reporting period,
data provided herein were obtained from databases of
individual law enforcement agencies and NGOs that document
cases of trafficking. Many of these databases, however, did
not focus exclusively on trafficking, making it difficult to
disaggregate trafficking cases from other issues. Various
government agencies and non-governmental organizations also
still employ a variety of non-digitized or -standardized
methods to document and track trafficking cases, which often
resulted in conflicting and under-reported data.

¶B. TRAFFICKING OVERVIEW: The Philippines is an origin, and
to a lesser extent, a destination and transit country of men,
women, and children trafficked internationally and
domestically for sexual exploitation and forced labor.
Foreign trafficking rings brought the victims to destinations
worldwide, including throughout Asia, the Middle East,
Europe, and North America. DFA reported the majority of
trafficking victims rescued in 2009 were in Malaysia and
Singapore, while a smaller number of victims were rescued
from various countries, including the United Arab Emirates,
Syria, Lebanon, Hong Kong, Thailand, Saipan, Cuba, and
Brazil. Estimates of various non-governmental organizations
(NGO) and international organizations (IO) vary
significantly; some put the number of Philippine citizens
trafficked annually in the thousands. NGOs and the
government agree that the majority of Filipino trafficking
victims are trafficked into commercial sexual exploitation,
but others are trafficked for their labor as domestic
servants and in unsafe and exploitative industries. There
were reports that international organized crime syndicates
transited trafficked persons from mainland China through the
Philippines to third country destinations.

Endemic poverty, a high unemployment and underemployment
rate, the cultural propensity to seek higher living standards

MANILA 00000293 002.6 OF 018

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. Manila, Cebu,
and Zamboanga, and the Diosdado Macapagal International
Airport (DMIA) in the Clark Freeport Zone served as the major
exit points for persons being trafficked internationally.

However, within this difficult environment, the Philippine
government has consistently mobilized significant resources
to combat trafficking.

men and women who migrated abroad for work were subjected to
conditions of involuntary servitude in the Middle East, North
America, and other parts of Asia. Women were trafficked
abroad for commercial sexual exploitation, primarily to
Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, and Japan. Both
women and men were trafficked to Malaysia and throughout the
Middle East for forced and exploitative labor in factories,
construction sites, and as domestic servants. Women and
children were also trafficked domestically, primarily from
rural areas to urban areas, for forced labor as domestic
workers, small-scale factory workers, and for exploitation in
the commercial sex and drug trafficking industry. Child sex
tourism continued to be a serious problem, with sex tourists
coming from Northeast Asia, Europe, and North America to
engage in sexual activity with minors. There were reports
that men were also trafficked internally, namely into forced
and exploitative labor in sugarcane production, and boys were
trafficked into commercial sexual exploitation. Trafficking
victims were often subjected to violence, threats, debt
bondage, inhumane living conditions, non-payment of salaries,
and withholding of documents.

¶D. VULNERABILITY TO TIP: The Philippines has a large,
impoverished, and culturally diverse population, spread
across over 7,000 islands, many of which experience annual,
large-scale natural disasters. Geographical barriers, the
remoteness of some rural communities, and the lack of
infrastructure and educational opportunities have for decades
impeded economic development and the provision of basic
government services to millions of Filipinos. 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

Women face a far greater risk of becoming victims of
trafficking than men, and girls are more at risk than boys.
In a DOJ study of 577 trafficking cases, 517 of the victims
were female and over half of the victims were minors.
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 exploited as domestic
helpers or prostitutes. In 2009, 57 percent of the
trafficking victims rescued by the Visayan Forum were from
Mindanao. 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; 29
percent of the population lives below the Asian Development
Bank’s poverty benchmark of $1.35 a day. A significant
percentage of the victims of internal trafficking were from
the Visayas and Mindanao and were fleeing poverty and the
threat of continuing violent clashes between the military and
the separatist group Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and
attacks by the terrorist New People’s Army (NPA) and the Abu
Sayyaf Group (ASG). Persons displaced by the Philippines’
many natural disasters are also vulnerable to trafficking.

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 2009, leaving at the rate of approximately 3,500 per day.
An estimated 11 percent of Gross Domestic Product came from
workers’ remittances, making overseas workers a cornerstone
in the government’s economic development plans.

Overall, the most common recruits for trafficking were girls

MANILA 00000293 003.8 OF 018

and young women aged 13 to 30 from rural areas, mainly from
impoverished families. Girls from ethnic minorities as young
as 10 years old also ended up as commercial sex workers.
There were reports that in some cases, parents and guardians
sold their children into bondage.

¶E. TRAFFICKERS AND THEIR METHODS: Traffickers usually sent
local recruiters to their own neighborhoods or villages to
recruit friends or relatives, providing the victims a false
sense of security. In many cases, trafficking syndicates
used women in their mid-40s or older, taking advantage of
many victims’ perception that older women were less likely to
harm them. Traffickers often masqueraded as private
employment recruiters or agencies, while actually cooperating
with organized crime rings. The most common method was to
promise victims a respectable and lucrative job with good
benefits, such as free room and board, transportation, and
cash advances. Parents and guardians were often supportive,
believing that work in urban areas and abroad is the key to
ascending the socio-economic ladder. NGOs suggested that
domestic and international organized crime syndicates were
heavily involved in the sex industry in Manila. Some of
these agencies may have also undertaken legitimate
recruitment of personnel, making it particularly challenging
to identify illegal recruiters, as the line between
legitimate and illegitimate agencies was blurred.

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 Luzon was the most common and
cheapest mode of travel used to transport victims.
Traffickers also took increasing advantage of budget airline
carriers at airports outside the national capital region to
transport victims out of the country. Traffickers used fake
travel documents, falsified permits, and altered birth


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

from the President and senior officials down to governors and
local government units (LGUs), acknowledged trafficking as a
serious problem and took active and concrete steps to combat
trafficking in the country.

Council Against Trafficking in Persons (IACAT) coordinated,
monitored, and oversaw the implementation of the
anti-trafficking law, Republic Act (RA) 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 the 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.

Various government agencies were involved in efforts to
combat human trafficking, including:

— The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) extended
assistance to victims of trafficking abroad and oversaw the
repatriation of victims. It acted as the central
coordinating unit for all bilateral, regional, and
multilateral antitrafficking efforts. DFA, through its
Philippine embassies, took the lead in protecting the rights
of migrant workers abroad, in coordination with the
Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). Philippine
Overseas Labor Offices (POLOs), the overseas operating arm of
DOLE, served abroad under the supervision of the Philippine
Chief of Mission or Ambassador.

— The Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) chaired the
inter-agency Presidential Task Force on Human Trafficking.

MANILA 00000293 004.4 OF 018

The Task Force was created by Presidential order to enhance
the coordination between and among government agencies’
anti-trafficking programs. CFO also assists in the filing of
cases against traffickers.

— The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)
focused on the protection and 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 countries with high
concentrations of Filipino overseas workers. These social
workers coordinated the provision of services with POLOs.

— 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 Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), an OWWA
officer often served as Assistant Labor Attache.

— The Department of Justice (DOJ) continued to lead the
government’s anti-trafficking efforts. In addition to
co-chairing the IACAT, it housed and staffed the IACAT
Secretariat. The DOJ was responsible for protecting the
rights of trafficking victims and prosecuting traffickers.
DOJ’s Task Force on Anti-Trafficking in Persons is a team of
20 prosecutors who, in addition to their regular workloads,
handle the preliminary investigation and prosecution of
trafficking cases at the national level. DOJ local
prosecutors also prosecute cases.

— 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 has
a national 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
PNP’s Women and Children’s Protection Center (WCPC) is
responsible for the enforcement of antitrafficking laws at
the local level. In 2009 Cebu’s PNP Region 7 Division
expanded its Regional Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force from
eight to 12 personnel.

— The Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) implemented
national development plans for women and provided technical
assistance to strengthen the 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, it was continuing to develop a
definitive guide for government agencies on the protection of
trafficked women, which is scheduled for review by the IACAT
in July 2010.

— 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)
was the primary administrator of licenses for recruitment
agencies, which cannot solicit employees for overseas work
without POEA authorization. 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, to
include TIP awareness training.

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

MANILA 00000293 005.4 OF 018

— 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 worked to ensure
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. In addition, DOLE officers worked as labor
attaches at Philippine diplomatic missions and spent much of
their time assisting overseas workers. A total of 39 labor
attaches served at 34 POLOs around the world at Philippine
diplomatic missions.

DOLE is the lead government agency responsible for the
enforcement of child labor laws through the work of its labor
standards enforcement offices. 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. For additional information on
child labor and trafficking, see reftel B.

remains one of the poorest countries in Asia, with a per
capita gross domestic product of 1,620 USD. The government’s
ability to address the trafficking problem and provide
assistance to its victims remained limited by inadequate
resources and government revenues. There were an
insufficient number of shelters and care facilities to care
for the long-term needs and rehabilitation services of all
victims. Government and law enforcement agencies had few
personnel dedicated solely to trafficking, instead relying on
officials to engage the issue in addition to other duties.
Some agencies reported the creation of redundant
anti-trafficking committees and councils that repeatedly call
on the same agencies has further strained the workload of the
limited personnel working on trafficking issues and created
confusing bureaucratic structures.

The government’s efforts were further hampered by an
ineffective judiciary, which is burdened with large
caseloads, limited resources, an 18 to 20 percent judgeship
vacancy rate, and grossly inefficient procedures. A 2005 UN
Development Program (UNDP) and Philippine Supreme Court study
found that the average trial takes over three years. A
subsequent World Bank study states trials take, on average,
six years to complete. Some government agencies and offices
have not yet fully implemented the 2003 anti-trafficking law
due to lack of training and orientation on the issue.

Poverty and judicial inefficiency combine to create a
situation in which victims are often unwilling to pursue
criminal complaints, opting for financial settlement and
return to their families over the prospect of a trial that
could last for years and entail multiple court appearances.
The same factors also serve to foster corruption and
complicity among government officials.

National and international NGOs and other foreign donors,
including the USG, complemented official government programs.
NGOs focused antitrafficking resources primarily on
prevention and protection for victims. 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.

government is working to improve its ability to monitor its
anti-trafficking efforts through the development of the
Philippine Anti-Trafficking in Persons Database (PATD).
While the government’s ability to collect and analyze data is
hampered by limited resources and automation in rural areas,
it regularly makes what data it has available to
international organizations and foreign governments,
including data used in this report. The IACAT and other
government task forces involved in antitrafficking 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

MANILA 00000293 006.4 OF 018

difficult to obtain.

The PCTC collected information on transnational crime
activities to include trafficking, but its records were not
comprehensive. The CFO 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
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.

born in rural areas, in conflict areas, or to indigenous
groups remain less likely to have an attended birth and
receive birth certificates and other identity documents. By
law, children and adults who lack birth certificates can
receive a late-registered certificate, if they provide
witnesses to vouch for their identities.

The DFA acknowledges that close cultural, historical, and
geographic ties and porous borders between islands in the
Southern Philippines and the Sabah region of Malaysia have
led to the migration of thousands of undocumented Filipino
workers in Sabah, many of whom lack passports and birth
certificates. In cooperation with the government of
Malaysia, the DFA established a task force in Sabah that,
among other services, issued passports, helped to legalize
the status of undocumented workers in the region, and worked
with agencies in the Philippines to confirm birth records.
The DFA issued approximately 35,000 passports through this
task force from the late summer of 2008 until early 2010.

On August 11, 2009, the Department of Foreign Affairs
launched the Philippine electronic passport, or “e-Passport,”
with enhanced security features that reduce opportunities for
passport fraud and tampering. The modernization of the
passport system complies with International Civil Aviations
Organization (ICAO) standards requiring all countries to have
machine-readable passports by April 2010.

¶F. GAPS IN DATA GATHERING: The Philippines is a developing
country, with limited fiscal resources to gather data
required for an in-depth assessment of law enforcement
efforts. The task is further complicated by the many remote
regions in the archipelago, some of which lack electricity
and telecommunications services. The government actively
collaborated with NGOs, international organizations, and
foreign donors to help close gaps in data gathering.


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

¶A. EXISTING LAWS AGAINST TIP: The Anti-Trafficking in
Persons Act of 2003, RA 9208, is the Philippines’ landmark
legislation to protect its citizens from sexual exploitation
and forced labor. The law, the first such law passed in
Southeast Asia and a model for the region, carries 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 provides legal grounds for 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 domestic and
transnational trafficking.

In addition to the anti-trafficking law, the government used
several other laws to prosecute traffickers, including: the
Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act (RA 8042), which
gave the government the authority to combat illegal
recruiting; the Mail-Order Bride Law (RA 6955), which made it
unlawful for foreign men to marry Filipino women for the
purpose of exploitation; the Inter-Country Adoption Act of
1995 (RA 8043), which sought to protect Filipino children
from abuse, exploitation, trafficking, and/or sale; the

MANILA 00000293 007.4 OF 018

Special Protection of Children Against Child Abuse,
Exploitation, and Discrimination Act (RA 7610), which
established penalties for child exploitation, including child
trafficking; and the Anti-Child Labor Law (RA 9231), which
guaranteed the protection, health, and safety of child
workers and prohibited the employment of children below the
age of 15, except with special permission from DOLE. In
November 2009, President Macapagal-Arroyo signed the
Anti-Child Pornography Act, which carries penalties ranging
from one month’s imprisonment to a life sentence and fines
from 50,000 pesos to 5 million pesos (approximately $1,050 to
$105,000), depending on the gravity of the offense. The law
prohibits hiring, employing, using, persuading, inducing or
coercing a child to participate in the production of any form
of child pornography.

anti-trafficking law imposed harsh penalties on persons
engaged in human trafficking. 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 up to 2 million pesos
($41,981) and a maximum of 20 years imprisonment. Promotion
of trafficking through falsification of documents and
tampering with certificates carried up to 15 years’
imprisonment and a fine of up to 1 million pesos ($20,990).
The maximum penalty when the victim was a child, trafficking
was conducted on a large scale, or the crime involved
military or law enforcement agencies and public officials or
employees, is life imprisonment and a maximum fine of 5
million pesos ($104,953). Those who engaged the services of
trafficked persons for prostitution faced penalties of
between six months of community service and a fine of 50,000
pesos ($1,049) to a maximum of one year’s imprisonment and a
fine of 100,000 pesos ($2,099). The law prescribes the same
penalties for trafficking for purposes of sexual
exploitation, prostitution, pornography, forced labor,
slavery, involuntary servitude, or debt bondage.

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 labor
trafficking could result in imprisonment of up to 15 years
and fines of up to 1 million pesos ($20,990).

The Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995
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 up to 500,000 pesos ($10,495) for
recruiters and placement agencies 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.

Law of 1997 (RA 8353), the penalty for rape is life
imprisonment. Under the Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995
(RA 7877), those persons convicted face imprisonment of not
less than one month and no more than six months, fines up to
20,000 pesos ($420), or both a fine and imprisonment.

¶E. LAW ENFORCEMENT STATISTICS: According to the Department
of Justice, 20 traffickers have been convicted since the
passage of the 2003 anti-trafficking law. During the
reporting period, Philippine courts convicted eight
individuals in five cases under RA 9208, compared to four
people convicted in three cases in 2008. In September, a
regional trial court in Manila sentenced two human
traffickers–including a police officer–to life in prison
and fined them two million pesos (approximately $41,981) for
trafficking minors in 2005. The convicted police officer was
the country’s first public official convicted for human
trafficking. In October, a trafficker was convicted and
sentenced to over 30 years’ imprisonment for three counts of
sexual abuse and violation of the anti-trafficking law for
recruiting minors for commercial sex. In November, a
trafficker pled guilty to acts that promote trafficking, a

MANILA 00000293 008.2 OF 018

crime under the antitrafficking law, and was sentenced to 15
years’ imprisonment and fined one million pesos
(approximately $20,991). In a November labor trafficking
case, three traffickers were convicted and sentenced to life
imprisonment and fined two million pesos (approximately
$41,981) each for attempting to traffic a minor in 2006 under
the pretext of an overseas job offer. In December, a
trafficker was convicted and sentenced to eight to 10 years’
imprisonment in a 2006 case involving illegal recruitment of
a minor for employment in Manila as an entertainer. The five
successful prosecution cases involve trafficking of twelve
minors and nine adults. All convicts are serving the time

In 2009, the DOJ received 228 new trafficking cases for
review and filed 206 cases for prosecution, an over 100%
increase in the number of cases filed. The PNP reports it
investigated 192 trafficking cases, of which 149 cases were
filed in court, 23 were still under investigation, 14 were
settled and six referred to other agencies. The NBI’s
Anti-Human Trafficking Division and its regional offices
investigated 189 complaints of trafficking, of which 84 were
filed with DOJ for potential prosecution. Inconsistent
reporting mechanisms at local prosecutor offices led to
understated numbers of cases filed for prosecution.

Despite the DOJ’s intensified efforts to prosecute and
convict traffickers, the majority of cases filed for
prosecution remained in process due to the overburdened and
inefficient judicial system. The judicial process takes, on
average, three to four years from the filing of charges to
resolution of a case. This judicial inefficiency is not
limited to trafficking cases; all court cases in the
Philippines take an average of four to seven years to

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. To help address the country’s trafficking
problem, the DOJ used this provision to partner with IJM and
other NGOs to more effectively investigate and prosecute
trafficking cases. IJM’s offices in Manila and Cebu have
partnered with the DOJ to prosecute a total of 81 criminal
cases of trafficking, including 28 new cases filed in the
reporting period. Three of the five nationwide trafficking
convictions in 2009 were a result of cases filed by IJM for
the victims in three separate cases of human trafficking.

The government actively investigated cases of trafficking and
trafficking-related offenses, but its efforts remained
hampered by scarce resources. In 2009, the PNP investigated
192 cases of trafficking involving 381 women and children
victims. In 2009, law enforcement units and IJM also
partnered to conduct 25 raids and rescue operations in Cebu,
Manila, Ilocos Norte, and Palawan. As a result of these
operations, 69 perpetrators were arrested and 100 minors and
129 adults rescued. Other government agencies, including
DOLE, Local Government Units (LGUs), and law enforcement
agencies, also partnered with IJM lawyers to help former
victims pursue administrative sanctions against traffickers,
including the closure of businesses that participate in
trafficking activities. Acting on closure petitions filed by
IJM, DOLE closed four establishments that employed minors for
prostitution and sexual exploitation in 2009.

Other government agencies also assisted in the investigation
of trafficking and trafficking-related cases. During the
reporting period, the Task Force Against Trafficking at Ninoy
Aquino International Airport in Manila, an inter-agency task
force composed of DOJ, BI, Customs, Airport Police, and the
Manila International Airport Authority, referred 28
trafficking cases to the DOJ and arrested eight suspected
traffickers. The majority of these cases were referred after
September 2009, when the DOJ assigned a prosecutor to work
full-time for the task force in order to assist its law
enforcement agents in the identification of and evidence
handling for trafficking cases. During the year, POEA filed
173 administrative cases against licensed labor recruiters
who used fraudulent and deceptive offers to entice jobseekers
or imposed inappropriately high or illegal fees on
prospective employees and assisted trafficking victims in the

MANILA 00000293 009.2 OF 018

proper filing of cases at the DOJ prosecutor’s office and
filed three cases of sex trafficking. POEA also assisted in
the arrest of approximately 82 individuals involved in
illegal recruitment. DOLE conducted 16 rescue operations
involving 79 minors, the majority of whom were trafficked for
commercial sexual exploitation.

Criminal cases against traffickers and illegal recruiters
were assisted by an improved intelligence network at the
barangay (neighborhood or borough) level, in part achieved
through a significant expansion of POEA training to Public
Employment Service Managers in communities throughout the

continued their efforts to train police, prosecutors, and
other officials on RA 9208. Programs included three PNP
seminars for police and social workers on anti-trafficking
investigation techniques and the inclusion of anti
trafficking elements in other courses, IACAT-run training for
109 prosecutors in three regions, and POEA training for local
officials and Public Employment Service Managers that
included identification of the warning signs of illegal
recruitment and human trafficking.

With the government’s own resources severely limited, it
actively sought partnerships with foreign donors and
internationally funded NGOs to supplement its efforts to
train law enforcement officers, prosecutors, judges, and
other government officials. Partnering with UNICEF, DOJ
trained 110 prosecutors from three regions on the trafficking
law, the practical applicability of the Manual on Law
Enforcement and Prosecution of Trafficking in Persons Cases,
and the handling and treatment of trafficking victims,
especially children, with particular reference to the
Philippine Guidelines for the Protection of Trafficked
Children and Labor Trafficking. Through the same grant, 68
airport police and personnel were trained on the trafficking
law and Standard Operating Procedures for task forces against
TIP in international airports. PNP and DOLE partnered with
IJM to train approximately 602 police officers and 62 labor
inspectors on investigation techniques and the
anti-trafficking law.

¶G. INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION: The government cooperated with
other countries in the investigation and prosecution of TIP
cases, particularly with Malaysia, Australia, Hong Kong, New
Zealand, and the United States. It assisted U.S. authorities
in the December 2009 conviction in Florida of an American
citizen who traveled to the Philippines for sex with minors.
In February 2010, the NBI and U.S. law enforcement officials
cooperated on a case that involved the sexual exploitation of
minors by foreigners over the internet. Four children were
rescued and the local trafficker arrested in this operation,
and the investigation is ongoing. The government actively
pursued the case against a Singaporean national based in
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, who victimized hundreds of Filipino
women in 2008. The Malaysian government initially charged
the man with a visa violation, but filed trafficking charges
again him in 2009 after the Philippine DOJ flew victims to
Malaysia to testify against the trafficker.

The Philippines participated in other international efforts
to prevent, monitor, and control trafficking. DSWD is one of
the partner agencies in the implementation of an
International Labor Organization (ILO) project that addresses
the lack of systematic documentation of trafficked victims,
absence of an effective referral system, and inadequate
capabilities on the part of service providers in providing
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.

¶H. EXTRADITIONS: Philippine law permits extradition. 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.
The government received no extradition requests for
trafficking offenders during the reporting period.

MANILA 00000293 010.2 OF 018

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 allowing illegitimate businesses, such as
brothels or gambling dens, to operate. It is widely believed
that some government officials are involved in, or at least
permit, trafficking operations within the country.

FOR INVOLVEMENT IN TRAFFICKING: The government significantly
increased its efforts to investigate and prosecute government
officials’ involvement in trafficking in the reporting
period. Police officer Dennis Reci, charged in June 2005 for
allegedly trafficking minors for sexual exploitation at his
nightclub in Manila, was convicted and received a life
sentence in September 2009, the first known conviction of a
public official for a trafficking-related offense in the
Philippines (see reftel C.) In 2009 the DOJ charged an
immigration official with labor trafficking for her role in
facilitating the illegal movement of domestic workers through
Clark Freeport Zone’s Diosdado Macapagal International
Airport (DMIA) to Malaysia, the first such case brought
against an immigration official in the Philippines.
Information received through her arrest led to 15 other
immigration officials being relieved of their duties at DMIA
on February 12, 2010. The 15 officials were transferred to
the BI’s main office in Manila pending an investigation into
their alleged role in the movement of trafficked persons
through DMIA by a joint DOJ, BI and NBI task force.

In January 2009, the Office of the Ombudsman formalized the
Tanodbayan (Ombudsman) Against Government Employees Involved
in Trafficking (TARGET), composed of six special
investigators and two prosecutors tasked to investigate cases
against government officials engaged in trafficking in
persons or trafficking-related corruption. During the
reporting period, TARGET conducted fact-finding
investigations into four government personnel allegedly
involved in trafficking cases.

To improve its capacity to combat corruption in human
trafficking cases, the Office of the Ombudsman, VFF, IJM and
Ateneo Human Rights Center signed a Memorandum of Agreement
in February 2010 to jointly prosecute corrupt government
officials and train government employees in agencies
vulnerable to trafficking-related corruption.

deployed over 1,000 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, or exploiting trafficking

¶L. CHILD SEX TOURISM: Child sex tourism remained a serious
problem for the Philippines. Sex tourists reportedly came
from Asia, Europe, North America, and Australia to engage in
sexual activity with minors. In 2009, the Bureau of
Immigration deported two foreign sex offenders and
pedophiles, and in a joint program with the Australian
Federal Police denied entry to 19 Australian sex offenders
upon their arrival in the Philippines. 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.


¶5. (SBU) The answers below are keyed to the format contained
in ref A, para 28.

MANILA 00000293 011 OF 018

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 funds, many who would have liked to
participate could not and some applications for witness
protection were still pending with a regional DOJ office more
than a year after being filed.

¶B. ACCESS TO FACILITIES: The Philippines has shelters
accessible to trafficking victims, including some shelters
that over time have become exclusively dedicated to 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, 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.

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. The 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.
Under an agreement with the Manila International Airport
Authority, VFF runs an airport halfway house for 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.

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. For trafficking
victims overseas, the DFA provides emergency shelter, medical
care, and legal assistance. In countries with 20,000 or more
overseas workers, these services are rendered through the
government’s multi-agency Filipino Workers Resource Centers
(FWRC). To advance advocacy for the legal rights of overseas
workers and prosecution of traffickers and abusive employers
abroad, DFA had a 60 million peso ($1.26 million) budget to
fund legal assistance and hire local legal representation.
The government allocated 150 million pesos ($3.15 million) to
DFA for emergency assistance to trafficking victims and
overseas workers.

MANILA 00000293 012 OF 018

Recognizing that victim care is a key element in successful
prosecution of traffickers and the prevention of
re-trafficking, the government also partnered with NGOs that
provide assistance for and shelter to trafficking victims.
In 2009, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation
(PAGCOR), a government agency under the Office of the
President, donated 10 million pesos ($209,908) to the IACAT,
which in turn donated 6 million pesos ($125,944) to five NGOs
that provide victims assistance domestically and abroad and
also partnered with the DOJ on case prosecution.

Anti-Trafficking Law provides that foreign trafficked victims
or trafficking victims who transit the Philippines are
entitled to the same assistance and protection 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.

¶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. 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,
victims were referred to DSWD for social and medical services.

¶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.

government statistics on the total number of trafficking
victims and the total number assisted with government
services. In the reporting period, DSWD served 428
trafficking victims, 78 victims of child labor, 53 victims of
illegal recruitment, and 121 victims of sexual exploitation
— including through prostitution, pedophilia and
pornography. 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 78 cases of
trafficking involving 182 victims, the bulk of them in
Malaysia, the UAE, and Singapore. 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.

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 by the government and NGOs during the
year continued to improve public and private awareness and
understanding of trafficking and the ability to identify
traffickers, rescue victims, and investigate cases.

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, some of whom were trafficked.

actively encouraged victims to assist in the investigation
and prosecution of trafficking and related crimes and to file
criminal cases against traffickers and unscrupulous

MANILA 00000293 013 OF 018

recruiters. Victims can file civil suits or seek legal
action against traffickers in the Philippines, but DFA noted
many countries’ employment laws restrict the ability of
Filipinos trafficked overseas to seek legal redress,
particularly in the Middle East. Some victims declined to
participate in legal proceedings because of the financial or
emotional cost of going to trial or because they settled out
of court. This is particularly true in labor trafficking
cases, as labor laws facilitate the settlement of cases
through payment of financial compensation to victims.
Victims who agree to testify as witnesses are allowed to
obtain other employment and are allowed to leave the country
pending trial proceedings. During the year, DOJ allocated
four million ($83,963) of the PAGCOR donation to fund the
travel of victims testifying in trafficking cases, including
the transport to Malaysia of two victims for testimony
against a trafficker that proved critical to the successful
filing of trafficking charges in Malaysian courts.

Victims testified in four of the five convictions made in the
reporting period. In the fifth case the victim had vanished
two years prior, but testimony from law enforcement
officials, social workers, and the victim’s family resulted
in the government’s first successful conviction of a
trafficking case without direct victim testimony. In another
2009 conviction, the government and victims accepted a plea
bargain agreement that included payment of financial
restitution to the 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,
BI, DOLE, Commission on Human Rights, and various NGOs, on
victim identification and 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. DFA trains Foreign Service
officers en route to foreign missions, attaches and consular
personnel to recognize and respond to trafficking cases; 182
victims were identified at Philippine embassies and
consulates abroad in the reporting period. The POEA also
trained diplomatic staff, overseas labor officers, and social
welfare officers in methods for assisting trafficking victims

government allocated 150 million pesos ($3.15 million) to DFA
for emergency assistance to trafficking victims overseas
workers, including repatriation costs and, as required by
some Middle Eastern countries, payment of compensation costs
to employers in order to secure an exit visa. Following
repatriation, victims were referred to law enforcement
agencies for investigation of their cases and DSWD for social
assistance. 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. The Overseas Workers
Welfare Administration (OWWA) Halfway Home program provided
temporary shelter, transport services, financial assistance,
and counseling services through a network of NGOs.

maintained active partnerships with the vibrant local and
international NGO community in the Philippines. The most
active contributors included:

— Coalition Against Trafficking in Women – Asia Pacific
(CATW-AP) 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 dialogue 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 and
documentation of trafficking cases based on the Human Rights
Information and Documentation System.

MANILA 00000293 014 OF 018

— Visayan Forum Foundation (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 ports 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. 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.

The TUCP sustains information, data basing and
survivor-servicing activities through its TIP-dedicated
website and help lines. These communication channels enabled
TUCP to respond to a number of inquiries and requests for
intervention. Sustained collaboration with the CFO
facilitated quicker action on victim and family tracing;
provision of immediate reintegration services; safe return of
victims; and case filing, development, and monitoring.
Through this collaboration, a Filipina domestic worker was
repatriated after more than a month of forced labor in Koror,
Palau. Information about the victim’s case was sent to TUCP
via email. TUCP referred the case to the CFO, which
immediately contacted the Philippine Embassy in Palau for
appropriate action.

— 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 trafficking
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 enforcement
officials and lawyers on gender sensitivity, empowering
communities to respond to gender issues such as violence
against women.

— 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
victims of sexual abuse facilitated the workshops.

— Kanlungan Center Foundation (KCF) works with OFWs and
their families to address the problems of migrant workers.

MANILA 00000293 015 OF 018

It provides legal and welfare assistance, psycho-social
counseling, temporary shelter, education, and training. It
teaches courses on migrant rights, legal 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.
Through an ILO grant, KCF provided assistance to 60
trafficked women. Of the 60 trafficked victims, DFA
repatriated 49 from Singapore, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, South
Korea, Lebanon, Doha Qatar, Jordan and United Arab Emirates.
Eleven women still await repatriation.

— 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 sexual abuse and
commercial sexual exploitation of children. 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


¶6. (SBU) The answers below are keyed to the format contained
in ref A, para 29:

¶A. PUBLIC AWARENESS CAMPAIGNS: Government agencies, with
help from and cooperation with NGOs and bilateral
international donor agencies, increased the frequency of
their TIP information and education campaigns in the
reporting period, including:

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

— To reduce the demand for commercial sex acts in the
Philippines, in June 2009 the Bureau of Immigration
introduced a warning message against human trafficking, abuse
and exploitation of women and children, and drug trafficking
in airport immigration arrival/departure forms used by
thousands of international passengers daily.

— POEA conducted 659 pre-deployment orientation seminars,
which includes information on trafficking and workers rights,
for 23,400 departing overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in
¶2009. These seminars sought to educate the OFWs on the risks
and rewards of overseas employment, and to empower them to
seek assistance if they are trafficked or abused.

— In 2009, the Department of Transportation and
Communication (DOTC) partnered with the VFF and eight major
transport groups for joint public information campaigns,
capacity-building for staff and key officers and the
development of an industry-wide Code of Conduct against human
trafficking. A total of 347 officers and crew members from
transport companies were trained during the reporting period.

— The VFF, with the support of The Asia Foundation, also
worked with the PROBE Team, a Philippine public affairs
program aired on a major television network, for the
production of an infomercial on human trafficking. Partners
from transport groups, port and airport authorities are using
the infomercials to warn passengers against trafficking.

continued its efforts to increase its capacity to monitor
immigration patterns for evidence of trafficking. During the
year, the BI offloaded 9,947 passengers at Manila and Clark
Freeport Zone international airports who were not properly
documented and believed to be at risk for illegal recruitment
and trafficking, a 100 percent increase from 2008. The Task
Force Against Trafficking at Ninoy Aquino International
Airport in Manila intercepted and offloaded 228 passengers
bound for Dubai, Singapore, China, Malaysia, Kuwait, Abu
Dhabi, Jordan and Syria with questionable travel documents.

Despite efforts to guard major port areas, the government did
not have sufficient resources to adequately monitor the
coastlines of the Philippines’ more than 7,000 islands. In

MANILA 00000293 016 OF 018

2009, approximately one million passengers transited Manila’s
North Harbor, the country’s largest port; as many as half
were in search of employment opportunities. The Philippine
Coast Guard, under the Department of Transportation and
Communication, randomly intercepted ferries to search for
trafficked victims and illegal recruiters. The Maritime
Police conducted investigations upon the disembarkation of
passengers and referred victims of trafficking to government
agencies or local NGOs for further assistance. The VFF,
which in cooperation with local government and port officials
had response centers at or near several major ports,
intercepted potential victims of trafficking at major
seaports and on seafaring vessels and rescued over 2,650
potential victims of trafficking.

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, PNP,
and three NGOs representing women, children, and overseas
Filipino workers.

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.
Alongside the local IACATs, local task forces in some areas
coordinated law enforcement and prosecution 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. In 2009,
three traffickers were convicted in one case filed and
coordinated by the CFO.

In recognition of its leadership role in efforts to fight
trafficking and protect the rights of migrant workers, the
Philippines chairs The Association of Southeast Asian Nations
(ASEAN) Senior Officials Meeting on Transnational Crime
(SOMTC) Working Group on Trafficking in Persons. The group
worked to increase regional cooperation on trafficking issues
and is currently drafting the ASEAN Instrument on the
Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers.

government maintained its national action plan to address
TIP, originally developed with NGO input. IACAT leads 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 of NGOs to establish
centers and programs for intervention at the community level.

ACTS: The government, given its limited resources, did not
have specific programs aimed at reducing the demand for
commercial sex acts, but worked with several NGOs, including
the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, that sponsored
demand-reduction programs targeting teenage males.

destination country for child sex tourists, the Philippine
government focused its limited resources on fighting child
sex tourism inside the country.

deployed over 1,000 military and police personnel in United
Nations peacekeeping missions. No reports of Filipino

MANILA 00000293 017 OF 018

peacekeepers’ involvement in trafficking-related incidents
were received by the AFP or DFA. 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.


¶7. (SBU) The answers below are keyed to the format contained
in ref A, para 30:

government engaged with other governments, civil society,
and/or multilateral organizations to focus on and devote
resources to addressing human trafficking. During the
reporting period, the IACAT worked with the Asia Regional
Trafficking in Persons Project by the Australian Agency for
International Development (AusAid) to conduct TIP case
analysis and data collection and management and to develop
and deliver “train the trainer” training for specialist

During the reporting period, Local Government Units partnered
with the Visayan Forum, MTV-Exit Philippines and the United
States Agency for International Development (USAID) on the
MTV EXIT Philippine concert tour, attended by over 25,000
people, which featured popular local artists and bands
advocating against human trafficking. Regional concerts in
the cities of Cebu and Davao were held in October and
November 2009, respectively. These regional initiatives
mobilized the support of Philippine government and private
sector partners, and complemented the nationwide awareness

Additional information about the Philippine government’s
extensive partnerships with other foreign governments,
donors, NGOs, and IOs are discussed in greater detail in
various sections of this cable.

Philippine government, due to limited funding, has not
provided international assistance to other counties to
address trafficking in persons.

——————————————— —–
——————————————— —–

¶8. (SBU) The answers below are keyed to the format contained
in ref A, para 31-33:

During the year the terrorist New People’s Army (NPA) and the
Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) targeted children for recruitment as
combatants and noncombatants. The NPA claimed that it
assigned persons 15 to 18 years of age to self-defense and
noncombatant duties; however, there were reports that the NPA
continued to use minors in combat. During the year, the AFP
reportedly rescued 15 child soldiers, 12 of whom were
allegedly recruited by the NPA. The ASG recruited teenagers
to fight and participate in its activities.

A 2007 study commissioned by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
found that children as young as 10 years old were used as
soldiers or recruited by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front
(MILF). Most of the children were volunteers in noncombat
roles, often with the support of their families. During the
December 2008 visit of the Special Representative of the UN
Secretary General, the MILF agreed to stop the recruitment
and use of children in its ranks. On July 31, UNICEF and the
MILF signed an action plan to prevent the recruitment and use
of child soldiers and to release children from all MILF
units. The Philippine government supported and facilitated
UNICEF’s negotiations with the MILF.

During the year, the Department of Social Welfare and
Development (DSWD) assisted seven child soldiers rescued from
rebel groups. Government reporting mechanisms for children

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in armed conflict were inconsistent between agencies and
regions, making it difficult to evaluate the scope of the



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