Anti-Trafficking in PG on DEC 9th

Postby information » Thu Nov 24, 2011 4:02 pm

No, it's not the MMDA descending on Puerto Galera, instead it's a trapo/celebrity mix batting for
"Laban sa Human Trafficking, Laban Nating Lahat". Guess the'll have to leave out the Sabang
night life so as not to publically appear as hypocrites.

Here the offfcial line from P-Noy's Presidential Communications Operations Office:

Puerto Galera to host anti-trafficking event; Dingdong Dantes invited

by Danny O. Sagun
MANILA, Nov. 22 (PIA) -- Popular actor Dingdong Dantes is sure to attract a big crowd if he gets invited to the International Day Against Human Trafficking celebration in Puerto Galera town in Oriental Mindoro on December 9.
Dantes, as ambassador against human trafficking, was one of the key personalities whom the organizers wanted to bring to Puerto Galera to make the celebration a big event in the Mimaropa region. This year's celebration will have as theme, "Laban sa Human Trafficking, Laban Nating Lahat."
Vice-President Jejomar Binay, who chairs the Inter-Agency Against Human Trafficking, was also expected to grace the affair along with Secretary Dinky Soliman of the social welfare and development department.
One of the activities of the celebration is a fun run by the invited guests and representatives of the various government agencies composing the Regional Inter-Agency Committee Against Trafficking and Violence Against Women and their Children (RIACAT-BAWC) of Region IV-B and to be joined by high school and college students from the area.
Other promotional and advocacy activities have been lined up by the organizers during a meeting on Monday at the DSWD Mimaropa regional office here to include hanging of streamers, distribution of leaflets, photo exhibit and press conference.
Next to guns and drugs, human trafficking is one of the most profitable illegal industries in the world affecting 161 countries including the Philippines being a leading source of migrant workers.
A joint task force was created against it, assigning personnel in various airports, seaports and land transportation terminals.
The governors and the congressmen from the five provinces are also expected to grace the occasion.
Puerto Galera is known for its white beaches. It is accessible by boat from the port of Batangas City for those coming from the Luzon mainland. (Danny/PIA Mimaropa)


On Human trafficking to SABANG, PUERTO GALERA the US Embassador to the PH dispatched this report to Washington D.C. (from wikileaks):

DE RUEHML #1563/01 1830856
O 010856Z JUL 08



E.O. 12958: N/A


¶1. SUMMARY: On June 30, a regional trial court in Batangas
City convicted and sentenced a human trafficker to life
imprisonment. The trial judge also fined the defendant 20
million pesos (USD 446,000) in criminal penalties and ordered
her to pay 100,000 pesos (USD 2,230) in civil damages to the
two victim complainants. The trafficker, who is the ninth
person to be convicted and sentenced to prison under the 2003
Anti-Trafficking in Persons Law, had recruited seven females,
including three minors, to work as "entertainers" in a
brothel only a few hours south of Metro Manila. The case is
especially notable because the victims were intercepted prior
to their arrival in the brothel and, for the first time,
prosecutors were able to win a conviction by proving the
defendant's "intent to exploit" the victims. Two U.S.
Government-funded NGOs who helped prosecute the case,
International Justice Mission (IJM) and Visayan Forum
Foundation (VFF), celebrated the conviction, which was more
than three years in the making. END SUMMARY.


¶2. On June 30, a regional trial court in Batangas City
convicted Nelia Olegasco for "qualified trafficking" and
sentenced her to life imprisonment. (Under the 2003 Anti-TIP
Law, cases involving criminal syndicates or the trafficking
of minors are considered "qualified trafficking," a charge
that carries stiffer penalties, including life imprisonment.)
The judge also fined the defendant 20 million pesos (USD
446,000) in criminal penalties and ordered her to pay 100,000
pesos (USD 2,230) to the two cooperating victim-witnesses for
"moral damages." Olegasco is the ninth person to be
convicted and sentenced to prison under the 2003
Anti-Trafficking in Persons Law.

¶3. In early 2005, Olegasco recruited seven young women from
Metro Manila, including three minors aged 15 and 16, to work
as "entertainers" in the coastal resort town of Sabang Beach,
Puerto Galera, a well known sex tourism destination in the
province of Mindoro Oriental. On March 3, 2005, the girls
departed Quezon City with their recruiter and arrived at the
Batangas City Port to board a ferry to Puerto Galera. A
Batangas port security official, who had been trained on TIP
victim identification by VFF, interviewed the young women and
determined that the seven had been recruited to work as
prostitutes. The recruiter was immediately arrested, and the
victims were referred to VFF for counseling and victim
support services at VFF's Batangas Port halfway house. On
March 7, a Batangas City prosecutor filed criminal charges of
qualified trafficking against Olegasco. The case then slowly
moved through the overburdened Philippine court system for
more than three years before the June 30 guilty ruling.

¶4. This conviction, the first in 2008, also has significant
legal ramifications: it is the first trafficking case in the
Philippines in which the defendant was convicted based on an
"intent to exploit" victims. Prior convictions have been
largely based on the testimony of victims rescued from
exploitative and abusive situations. Many Philippine lawyers
have previously noted the difficulty of proving in court a
trafficker's "intent to exploit," particularly in cases where
the victims are intercepted while in transit. In this
landmark case, prosecutors, utilizing the evidence gathered
by well-trained investigators, were able to successfully
illustrate the defendant's intent to abuse and exploit her


¶5. An attorney with the International Justice Mission (IJM),
an NGO grantee of the State Department's Trafficking in
Persons Office (G/TIP), worked alongside the Batangas public
prosecutor throughout the case. IJM attorneys serve as
"private prosecutors," deputized by the public prosecutor to
move the case through the judicial process while serving as
the legal counsel for the victims. Following a successful
case in Cebu in 2007, this Batangas conviction is the second
TIP case handled by IJM attorneys that resulted in
conviction. IJM's Manila office currently has 16 ongoing TIP
trials, with an additional 15 cases the remain under

MANILA 00001563 002 OF 002

pre-trial investigation at the Department of Justice.

¶6. Visayan Forum Foundation, a Department of State and USAID
grant recipient that manages shelters for trafficking victims
throughout the country, provided significant support and
shelter for the victims throughout this case. Victim
cooperation throughout the judicial process has been a
critical component to the successful TIP convictions so far
in the Philippines, and VFF's USG-supported services help to
ensure that the victims who are pursuing cases remain
cooperative throughout the investigation and prosecution.
Through VFF's outreach program at its Batangas City Port
halfway house, VFF staff had previously conducted training to
educate government and private sector port employees on how
to identify and respond to potential trafficking victims.
The recent Batangas conviction demonstrates how VFF's
innovative approach has had a substantive impact on the
ability of Philippine government agencies to intercept
victims and successfully investigate and prosecute
trafficking cases.

Visit Embassy Manila's Classified SIPRNET website: cfm

You can also access this site through the State Department's
Classified SIPRNET website:

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Re: Anti-Trafficking in PG on DEC 9th

Postby information » Fri Dec 09, 2011 6:50 am






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,, 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
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
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.
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.

-- 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
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
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
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

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


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.


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

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.

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 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
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.

-- 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.
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.

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.


During the year, the Department of Social Welfare and
Development (DSWD) assisted seven child soldiers rescued from
rebel groups. Government reporting mechanisms for children
in armed conflict were inconsistent between agencies and
regions, making it difficult to evaluate the scope of the

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Re: Anti-Trafficking in PG on DEC 9th

Postby information » Mon Dec 19, 2011 5:31 pm


Sex: A growth industry in the Philippines
By Joel D Adriano

MANILA - When United States ambassador to the Philippines Harry Thomas Jr claimed that 40% of male foreign tourists to the country visited only for sex, the off-the-cuff comment became a diplomatic incident. The senior emissary made the statement in October during a roundtable discussion on human trafficking at which he blamed corrupt local officials for involvement in the flesh trade.

The claim elicited furious denials from Philippine officials and Thomas later backed away from the exact figure. Philippine Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez countered that official statistics show 55% of tourists arrive in the Philippines for shopping and beaches. By any honest measure, however, the Philippine flesh trade catering to foreigners is growing in size and sophistication and by some estimates is starting to rival Thailand as a global sex tourism hub.

The Philippines' tourism industry is a regional laggard, underscoring the country's security problems, poor infrastructure and unimaginative marketing campaigns. Last year's figure of 3.5 million tourists marked an all-time high, but paled in comparison to most of the country's regional neighbors. In comparison, Malaysia received 24.5 million tourists, Thailand nearly 16 million and tiny Singapore 11.6 million in 2010.

While the total number of visitors may be small, the number of sex tourists is believed to be growing. Males make up over 65% of all tourist arrivals. A leaked US diplomatic cable identified a number of Philippine sex tourism hubs, including Sabang Beach in Puerto Galera, Mindoro province. Sex workers, or "sexcorts", interviewed by this correspondent noted that the cities of Cebu, Davao and Angeles City and Boracay island were easy places to find work.

Former labor under secretary Rene Ofreneo recently said that the number of Filipinos engaged in the sex trade was likely about the same size as the country's manufacturing workforce of around 850,000 workers, with around half of them under the age of 18.

The Catholic Bishop Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), meanwhile, warned that the Philippines could soon rival Thailand as a sex tourism capital, including for globe-trotting pedophiles. A recent Deutsche Welle special report claimed that the Philippine sex industry was the fourth-largest contributor to gross national product (GNP).

Economists say that entrenched poverty, where nearly 40% of the population lives on less than US$2 per day according to Asian Development Bank statistics, is a major push factor into the trade. Policy think-tank Ibon Foundation recently recommended that the government focus on sustainable poverty reduction and additional investments in public education, health, housing and infrastructure to curb the burgeoning sex trade.

But as US ambassador Thomas suggested in his hotly contested remarks, official complicity is part of the problem. A growing number of public officials have been accused as enablers or patrons of the trade in underage girls.

For instance, Zamboanga congressman Romeo Jalosjos was recently convicted of raping a 12-year-old girl who was offered to the politician by a pimp, according to court proceedings. Another former congressman, Manolet Lavides, was recently fingered for involvement in the prostituting four high school students at the Manila-based Novaliches High School.

Two mayors, meanwhile, were recently accused having sex with minors. Binan mayor Bayani Alonte has been charged with raping a 16-year-old high school student who was reportedly doing modeling jobs on the side. Angeles City mayor Ed Pamintuan has been accused of being involved in the case of another 16-year-old model who was prostituted by her so-called "talent" manager.

Cash allure
Many young Filipino girls end up in so-called KTV bars, nightclubs, seedy restaurants and massage parlors, a number of which are fronts for prostitution dens where customers can have sex for a fee ranging from US$20 to $50. Cash-strapped students are also turning to prostitution to pay their tuition bills or earn extra money to cover their weekly expenses, according to Asia Times Online interviews.

"On a good week, I can earn 10,000 pesos [US$230], enough to cover the fees needed to get the clearance for the final exams," said 19-year-old Jenny, a pseudonym, who is studying to be a teacher but works part time as what locals refer to as a "sexcort". "The sooner I graduate the better since I don't plan on doing this after college."

The cash allure is stronger for those who have fallen off the educational track. Canadian missionary Brett Ostrander related a story about a 14-year-old girl he met in his community work with International Teams Canada. Two years later, he noted, she became involved in the sex trade working as an escort to tourists while sightseeing and also providing sexual services.

Internet-based sexual services are also extending the trade into once remote rural areas, warned the CBCP. MJ, a pseudonym, got hooked on cyber-sex because of the easy money, considerably more than the 2,000-4,000 pesos she could earn as a domestic servant. She said she enticed some of her other friends working as maids to perform sex acts and strip online part time. Others she knows are advertising massage services online and are offering "extra service" for additional fees.

To be sure, there are several sex service-related love stories. Mina, not her real name, married a Korean man who she met in a strip club and now runs a small business while her two children are enrolled in an expensive private school. Another from the same club met an American who provided her the funds needed to finish a nursing course. She is now living comfortably in the US, she wrote anonymously in an e-mail.

Most of the time, however, women who enter the Philippines' sex trade are exploited badly and highly vulnerable to sexually transmitted diseases, particularly HIV-AIDS. As the Philippine sex trade expands to cater to a growing number of foreigners, the number of reported AIDS cases more than doubled this year, one of the few countries in the world to see its number of cases rise.

Activists against the trade, meanwhile, are fighting a losing battle. "The most difficult part is bringing people out of it or deterring others from joining it," said Ostrander. He said one of the most challenging issues of combating sex tourism is providing those in the industry with real options for other work. "Can we offer them jobs?," he asked rhetorically. "Unfortunately, the answer is no."

He concedes that sex tourism provides a way out of poverty. In the case of the 16-year-old girl mentioned above, Ostrander noted that for the first time she had her own money, was able to travel and rent her own apartment on wages she made as an escort. "If the ethical or moral aspect is our only avenue to get young girls out, I doubt there will be any success."

Joel D Adriano is an independent consultant and award-winning freelance journalist. He was a sub-editor for the business section of The Manila Times and writes for ASEAN BizTimes, Safe Democracy and People's Tonight.
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