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Philippines upgraded to Tier 1 in 2016: U.S. State Department Trafficking in Persons Report

Manila, July 1, 2016 — On June 30, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry released the 2016 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report, which provides the most comprehensive information on government efforts around the world to combat modern slavery. We are pleased to announce that the Philippine ranking was upgraded to Tier 1 as a direct result of efforts by the Government of the Philippines to eliminate human trafficking. A Tier 1 ranking indicates that a government has acknowledged the existence of human trafficking, made efforts to address the problem, and complies with the minimum standards of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. This year’s Tier 1 ranking is an accurate reflection of the commitment of the Philippine government to prosecute trafficking cases, protect victims, and prevent future human trafficking during the April 1, 2015 to March 31, 2016 reporting period.

The Philippines is a source country and, to a much lesser extent, a destination and transit country for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor. The U.S. government recognizes the efforts of the Government of the Philippines to bring justice to victims and expedite prosecutions.  During the reporting period, the Philippines convicted 42 traffickers, including five for online child sex trafficking and two for forced labor. The report notes the important impact of an increase in government funding to the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) which led to a doubling in the number of individuals reached by CFO’s anti-trafficking prevention campaigns, trainings, and awareness events.

As the Tier 1 ranking does not indicate that human trafficking has been eliminated from the Philippines, the 2016 TIP Report provides a number of recommendations for the Philippines for the 2016-2017 reporting period. The report urges the government to increase the availability of shelter and protection resources to victims and reduce the demand for commercial sex acts. The report also recommends increasing efforts to identify labor trafficking victims and investigate labor traffickers, ensure victim-friendly criminal justice proceedings, and increase the speed of trafficking prosecutions.

We recognize and commend the Government of the Philippines’ progress on trafficking in persons and look forward to continuing our close cooperation to tackle this regional and global issue. #

(The entire 2016 TIP Report is available via http://www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/index.htm and on the U.S. Embassy’s web site at http://philippines.usembassy.gov.)

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