The Philippines has maintained its position as one of the countries that undertook sustained efforts to end human trafficking, according to a report from the United States State Department.
In the 2022 Trafficking in Person Report, the Philippines was ranked under Tier 1 again — a status it has maintained since 2016.
“The Government of the Philippines fully meets the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. The government continued to demonstrate serious and sustained efforts during the reporting period, considering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its anti-trafficking capacity; therefore, the Philippines remained on Tier 1,” the report stated.
The US State Department said countries under Tier 1 indicate that “a government has made efforts to address the problem” that meet the “minimum standards” of the US Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000.
These efforts include the identification of more victims than in 2020, drafting standard operating procedures to identify and monitor human trafficking victims, sentencing traffickers to significant prison terms, and the creation of the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW), which focuses on the security and welfare of Filipinos working abroad.
Along with the Philippines, Tier 1 nations included, among others, Australia, Canada, Chile, Germany, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the US.
However, while the Philippines meets the minimum standards, the US State Department noted the Philippines “did not report vigorously investigating labor trafficking crimes” inside the country.
The PH also did not “take adequate steps to investigate and arrest individuals suspected of purchasing commercial sex from trafficking victims, nor did it provide training for labor inspectors on indicators of human trafficking,” it added.
“The government prosecuted and convicted fewer traffickers, and it did not report holding accountable officials allegedly complicit in human trafficking crimes,” the report noted.
Nonetheless, the US Stated Department recommended the adoption of several measures to strengthen the country’s anti-human trafficking efforts.
Among the recommendations made by the US government include increasing efforts to investigate, prosecute, and convict complicit officials and labor traffickers.
The US State Department also suggested running a process to ensure systematic and ongoing input from a diverse community of survivors on the design, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of anti-trafficking policies and programs.
It also advised the Philippines to increase efforts to ensure victims receive court-ordered restitution and compensation ordered through civil judgments and increase resources for anti-trafficking task forces to conduct timely investigations, coordinated operations, and prosecutions while providing robust victim and witness assistance services.
The US agency also endorsed increased efforts to identify and assist labor trafficking victims, including by providing training to law enforcement, social service providers, and labor inspectors on indicators of trafficking.
It also suggested the creation of a central database for information on illegal recruiters and human trafficking cases to facilitate interagency coordination in detecting, investigating, and prosecuting traffickers.