The combined Operations Center of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) and the Presidential Taskforce Against Illegal Recruitment (PTFAIR) assisted more than 1,300 human trafficking and illegal recruitment victims last year, Vice President Jejomar C. Binay said today.
“From Jan. 1 – Dec. 31, 2012, the IACAT-PTFAIR Operations Center received a total of 537 complaints consisting of 1,353 victims and complainants,” the Vice President, who heads both the IACAT and PTFAIR, said.
The anti-trafficking czar added that operatives of the Operations Center, under the supervision of the National Bureau of Investigation’s Anti-Human Trafficking Division (NBI-AHTRAD), conducted 10 rescue and six entrapment operations last year, resulting in the rescue of 262 victims and the arrest of 86 suspects.
Binay also lauded the Center’s efforts in locating witnesses who were needed to testify in courts.
“The Operations Center was able to locate 25 victims who turned witnesses from as far as Pangasinan in the north and Davao City in the south,” Binay said.
“This is very important for us because most of the cases we file do not prosper due to the lack of witness who are willing to testify against the suspects,” he added.
The Vice President said the witnesses were brought to Manila to attend preliminary investigations and court hearings.
“Their presence allowed our prosecutors to successfully present evidence and hopefully will result in the conviction of suspected traffickers and illegal recruiters,” he said.
“In fact, seven of these witnesses were found just in time to save four human trafficking cases from being dismissed by the presiding judges,” he said.
The Vice President said these efforts were in line with the recommendations for the Philippines in the United States State Department’s annual Global Trafficking in Persons (GTIP) Report last year.
“One of the recommendations was for us to strengthen case monitoring and conviction. I hope our efforts to comply with this recommendation will be recognized by the US State Department when the 2013 GTIP Report comes out in June,” Binay said.#