Legarda to Gov’t: Make New Anti-Trafficking Law Work

January 13, 2014

Senator Loren Legarda today renewed her call for the application of more stringent penalties under the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act (R.A. 10364) against perpetrators of the crime.

Legarda, principal sponsor of the said law, made the call in support of the overseas Filipino workers who joined the Walk for Freedom in Los Angeles, California to mark the National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month in the United States.

“Approximately 2,000 Filipinos fall prey into trafficking each year. Behind these numbers are stories of individuals whose freedom of choice is impaired by desperation or helplessness, thus rendering them vulnerable to exploitation. Victims are subjected to forced labor, domestic servitude and forced marriage, organ removal and sale, sex trade, and exploitation of children,” she said.

“Our goal is to ensure that Filipinos will no longer be subjected to these forms of slavery or indecent work. Through the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act, human traffickers will be deprived of the legal loopholes that have allowed them to escape prosecution and conviction in the past. This will help us achieve greater degree of success in our fight against trafficking in persons,” she added.

The Senator noted that improved strategies to arrest human traffickers and impede various acts of trafficking should now be in place since the law provides for the creation of a permanent Secretariat to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking that will primarily collect comprehensive criminal justice data on trafficking in persons and will train prosecutors and law enforcers.

The law also 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.

Moreover, it expands the enumeration of acts that promote trafficking and covers attempted trafficking and accessory or accomplice liability.

“Trafficking in persons is a complex problem and trafficking modes and patterns continue to evolve over time as perpetrators of the crime seek to outflank policies and regulations of government. We have already improved the law. The vital step now is to strengthen enforcement and prosecution,” Legarda concluded.