By VINCE NONATO
DESPITE the Philippine government’s efforts to combat human trafficking, the United States’latest global Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report said it its overall number of convictions remained low.
“The Government of the Philippines does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking;however, it is making significant efforts to do so,” the United States’ Department of State said in the TIP Report 2014.
As of April this year, 2,359 cases in violation of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act law have been filed since the law was enacted in 2003, according to data from the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT).
Only 127 of these—or 5 percent—resulted in convictions as of April 2014. There would be two more convictions made since then. A total of 549 are undergoing trial, while 372 have been dismissed.
Meanwhile, data from the Philippine National Police also show that child trafficking is on the rise.
A total of 130 child trafficking and labor cases nationwide were recorded last year, 21 percent higher than the 103 cases in 2012. Last year also posted one of the highest numbers of cases, although the numbers peaked in 2002, the year the PNP Women and Children Protection Center was formed.
The TIP Report 2014 said during the reporting period, the PNP investigated 155 alleged cases of trafficking: 90 cases of forced labor, 58 involving sex trafficking, and seven cases with unknown details.
It said 317 new cases were filed at the DOJ and prosecutors’ offices nationwide, and 190 of these were filed in various courts and 663 defendants prosecuted. The government, it added, convicted 31 sex trafficking offenders, compared with 25 during the previous year. It did not, however, obtain any convictions for labor trafficking.