Fourteen government agencies are involved in anti-trafficking efforts, much of which prevention-oriented. Officials have made efforts to control "mail-order bride" businesses through increased monitoring. Government offices conduct information campaigns on child labor and sexual exploitation for the hotel industry and other tourism businesses.1
Early detection and prevention are essential in stopping the incidences of trafficking and sexual exploitation of women and children. The Government of the Philippines has been using advocacy, information and education on women's and children's rights among policy makers, communities and other groups.
The Department Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) launched a National Family Violence Prevention Program where families were also informed about the rights of women and children as well as necessary behavior to protect them. To prevent trafficking in children, social workers have been posted at the airports to monitor the travel of children abroad. Minors traveling unaccompanied must register with the DSWD to ensure that they are traveling for appropriate purposes.2
GABRIELA, which is the National Alliance of Women's Organizations in the Philippines is actively involved in massive awareness campaigns to prevent the trafficking of women and girls from the Philippines . Its strategies consist of seminars and dissemination of information to NGOs and Government Agencies that are working for the advancement of women and awareness campaigns at the community level. For more information see: http://www.members.tripod.com/~gabriela_p/.
The National Commission on the Role of the Filipino Women (NCRFW) has been aggressively advocating policies and programs to stop trafficking in women and children, foremost of which is the enactment of an anti-trafficking bill into law. It also prepares and disseminates information and educational materials on combating trafficking. The Commission of Filipinos Overseas (CFO) has been undertaking community awareness and information programs on the realities of migration since 1987. It also conducts counseling services for Filipinos "bride to be" or spouses on realities and consequences of intermarriages and migration, their rights and obligations, available support networks and other useful information.
Philippines cooperates with Malaysia and Indonesia to combat transnational crime issues.
Childhope Asia Philippines (CHAP) promotes human resource development through training and capacity-building activities that it conducts among staff and volunteers of NGOs in the Philippines and in other Asian countries. To see a list of workshops and field visits conducted by CHAP in collaboration with its partner donors and agencies, visit: http://www.childhope.org.ph/2003activities.html
The Philippines in March 2003 enacted a comprehensive anti-trafficking law called The Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003 or the Republic Act No. 3208. This long awaited law defines trafficking in numerous ways. It makes illegal the "recruitment, transportation, transfer or harboring, or receipt of a person, with or without the person's or victim's consent, within or across national borders for the purose of exploitation such as sexual exploitation, forced labor services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, and removal or sale of organs or other similar acts." Also, it makes illegal the threatening of people or using force or other forms of coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power or position. Interestingly, introducing for money or other consideration, any Filipina to a foreigner as a possible spouse or offering any Filipina to a foreigner as a prostitute is considered "trafficking in persons." Also "maintaining or hiring a person to engage in prostitution or pornography" is also considered "trafficking in persons."3
The penalty structure set up by R.A. 9208 is as follows:
The Philippines Center for Transnational Crime (PCTC) was created by Executive order 62 to formulate and implement a concerted program of action for all law enforcement, intelligence and other government agencies for the prevention and control of transnational crimes such as trafficking in women and children. This center functions through improved coordination, research and data-banking.
The Center for International Crime Prevention and the United Nations Inter-regional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) cooperated with the Philippine Government as part of the efforts to extend technical assistance for capacity building and training of law enforcers, prosecutors, and service providers. The project aimed at improving the information on trafficking in human beings in the Philippines and providing a tool for better domestic policy planning. Its goal was to assess the trafficking flows and the corresponding involvement of organised criminal groups. The program looked at ways to support other institutional initiatives that related to combating human trafficking. UNICRI started its anti-trafficking activities with the pilot project in the Republic of the Philippines. A joint UNICRI-CICP (Center for International Crime Prevention) mission was held in Manila during July of 1999, and ended in 2003. For more information see: http://www.unicri.it.
Project activities included interviews with relevant NGOs, officials, victims of traffic and criminal justice experts. Different multilateral and bilateral agreements on the subject and in which the Philippines were party were collected. UNICRI's activities culminated with the organisation of a 3-day meeting of experts to present the final findings of the research, held in Manila in March 2001.
A consultant was hired to compile the gathered information in a final report and prepare the executive summaries on the basis of the results of the developed research studies:
The reintegration programs of the Government of the Philippines focus on facilitating the recovery of women and children from traumatic experiences and their return to normal life. This assistance includes, individual and group therapy sessions focusing on overcoming fear, shame, self-denial, guilt and self-blame. These programs also provide information on options available to victims for work, continuing education, and vocational training in order to help addresses the economic aspects of reintegration process.
The government's "Half-Way Home" program works with NGOs to repatriate victims and provide them temporary shelter, transportation, counseling and financial assistance. The government trains law enforcement officials on dealing with trafficking victims. Philippine embassies take steps to assist victims abroad. Consular officials in embassies receive awareness training on dealing with trafficking victims.5 The Philippines' Anti-trafficking law seeks to adhere to the international norm of exercising the human rights standards of treating persons trafficked as victims of a crime, rather than as criminals of the acts related to trafficking.6
In the Philippines, the Department of Justice has created the Task Force on Protection of Women Against Exploitation and Abuse and well as the Task Force on Child Protection. These task forces are composed of state prosecutors designated by the Secretary of Justice to address the cases of abuse, exploitation and discrimination committed against women and children. Hotlines are in place to facilitate reporting of cases. Bantay Bata (Child Watch) began in 1991 and allows the public, including children, to call a telephone number to report cases of child abuse and exploitation. The radio, TV and print media are also utilized to inform the public about reporting of the cases of abuse and exploitation.
The Sagip Batang Manggagawa (rescue child laborer) is an inter-agency program, which aims to respond to cases of child labor and rescue victims from hazardous and exploitative conditions. The quick reaction teams have also been strengthened and consist of teams of policemen and social workers to rescue children and women victimized by prostitution and sexual exploitation.
The Special Committee for the Protection of Children, composed of 9 Government agencies and 3 NGOs, receives reports on regular basis from the Task Force on Child Protection on the nature of child abuse cases. The Inter-Country Adoption Board acts as the central authority in matters relating to inter-country adoption, to ensure that adopted children are not exploited in any way.
Several NGOs provide grants of financial and technical assistance for those who are interested in starting their own small businesses.
US DOL/ILAB is contributing 10 million dollars to Philippines in two different but related projects. First, DOL/ILAB supports the Philippines & government-run Timebound project by funding US$5 million dollars to ILO/IPEC to help implement Timebound. ILO/IPEC works with other local partners.
The other US$5 million dollars is going to World Vision to implement an education initiative component for the children who are removed from situations of prostitution and domestic service in the Timebound program. World Vision is working with three local partners, Christian Children's Fund, Plan International, and Education Research and Development Association (ERDA).
On September 15, 2003 , the US Department of Labor / Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB) / International Child Labor Program signed a collaborative agreement with the Philippines government, and contributed US$5 million, on a Timebound Program to eliminate the worst forms of child labor in the Philippines. The International Labor Organization/IPEC will be implementing Timebound in Philippines. The Timebound Program in the Philippines is a four-year project which comprises a set of comprehensive and integrated initiatives to show visible results in the elimination of the worst forms of child labor and promotion of basic education in the country in a 5-10 year period. The TBP covers sexual exploitation, mining and quarrying, fireworks production, deep-sea fishing, work on sugar cane plantations, and child domestic work.7 Trafficking of children for commercial sexual exploitation (CSE) purposes will be treated as a cross-cutting issue in the project. Work against CSE will center on Regions I (La Union, Baguio City), II (Angeles City, San Fernando, Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, Olongapo), IV (Laguna, Palawan, Romblon, Batangas), VII (Cebu, Toledo City, Lapu-lapu, Mandaue), and the National Capital Region (Manila, Kalookan City, Quezon City, Pasig, Paranaque). The project will withdraw or prevent children from entering CSE and other sectors of exploitative labor and will provide them with educational opportunities and health services. Alternative income generation opportunities and training will be provided to families.
The reintegration programs of the Government of Philippines are focused on facilitating the recovery of women and children from any traumatic experiences and their return to normal life. It consist of individual and group therapy sessions focusing on getting victims out of emotions such as fear, shame, self-denial, guilt and self-blame. This program also provides information on what options are available to bring victims lives to a normal business. This program also includes opportunities for continuing education as well as vocational education and training. The livelihood assistance addresses the economic aspects of reintegration process. As a support service, it provides grants of financial and technical assistance for those who are interested in income generating projects.
The Department State East Asian & Pacific Bureau is supporting the Visayan Forum Foundation (VFF) Halfway Houses in Manila and Davao Ports. The two halfway houses at the two most active ports in the Philippines will provide temporary shelter, repatriation, referral and telephone hotline counseling services to victims. Seminars and training will also be conducted to strengthen the participation and awareness of strategic partners within these ports (such as police, private security agencies, etc.).
New Zealand's fifth report on the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) is useful. This report can be found at www.mwa.govt.nz/cont_wk.html.
Search the entirety of the site for resources or updates.