The Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking under the Department of Justice and the Supreme Court have signed an agreement for closer collaboration in addressing trafficking in persons (TIP) in the country.
Justice Undersecretary Emmeline Aglipay-Villar, the undersecretary-in-charge of IACAT, revealed that on Wednesday, she and Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez signed the memorandum of agreement for the implementation of the Justice Systems Coordination Mechanism (JSCM) Project.
Villar said the MOA paves the way for IACAT and SC to have “joint efforts and maintain a close working relationship to achieve their mutual objectives of strengthening policies and programs to address trafficking in persons.”
The JSCM Project is under the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Australia Counter Trafficking (ASEAN ACT) program, she explained.
“The JSCM is a program designed to assist ASEAN Member States (AMS) to have an effective justice system in addressing trafficking in persons, in compliance with each member state’s obligations under the ASEAN Convention Against Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children,” Villar stressed.
Among the objectives of the MOA, she added, include efforts to “increase knowledge among prosecutors in prosecuting TIP cases; increase knowledge among judges and justices in adjudicating and reviewing TIP cases, respectively; and stronger collaboration between the two justice sector agencies in achieving a common goal of improving prosecution, adjudication, and review of TIP cases.”
Villar said the MOA also bats to “increase awareness among judges, court personnel, and prosecutors on the importance of sensitive handling of TIP victims and increase understanding by judges, court personnel, and prosecutors on the lifelong effect of trauma to TIP victims, thus enabling them to become more victim-sensitive during the judicial process.”
An enhanced effectiveness in the monitoring of TIP cases and increased capabilities in generating accurate reports and analysis to guide policy direction are also the objectives of the MOA, the DOJ official emphasized.