Legarda: Implement Stringent Provisions of New Anti-Trafficking Law

June 9, 2013

Senator Loren Legarda today called for the application of the more stringent penalty provisions of the Expanded Anti-Trafficking Law against the perpetrators of the crime.

Legarda, principal sponsor of the law, called upon the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) to cooperate and work with law enforcers, to ensure that the perpetrators, including those based overseas, would not escape justice.

The Senator noted that a few weeks ago, the National Bureau of Investigation in Central Visayas raided a house believed to be a cybersex den in Cordova, Cebu and arrested a couple alleged of conducting cyber-pornography involving their own child and other minors.

A CNN documentary also featured prostitution and cybersex as among the common forms of human trafficking acts in the Philippines, with minors being convinced to engage in such trade as they are promised with good income and a better life.

“It is time that the users of trafficking victims are made to answer for their crimes. The Expanded Anti-Trafficking Act provides sanctions against them,” said Legarda.

“Trafficking is symptomatic of the desperate situation the victims are in. If we give them the necessary intervention, both economic and social, we will be able to take away the motivation that makes them easy prey to traffickers,” she added.

The new law expands the enumeration of acts that promote trafficking; covers attempted trafficking and accessory or accomplice liability; creates a permanent Secretariat that will primarily collect comprehensive criminal justice data on trafficking in persons and will train prosecutors and law enforcers; and improves institutional mechanisms and responses to human trafficking by strengthening policies, improving enforcement and enhancing inter-agency coordination both at the local and international levels.

“I challenge the DOJ and the IACAT to prove that with this new law, human traffickers will be deprived of the legal loopholes that have allowed them to escape prosecution and conviction in the past,” Legarda concluded.