Anti-trafficking Bicameral Conference

November 12, 2012

Opening Remarks
ASEAN SMEs Training Workshop
Asian Institute of Management
November 12, 2012

Good afternoon and welcome to the bicameral conference on the disagreeing provisions of Senate Bill No. 2625 and House Bill 6339, on the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012.

More than nine years after the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act (RA 9208) was passed, we have seen 100 persons convicted of trafficking. By the end of 2011, the country’s Inter-agency Council Against Trafficking reported 62 convictions out of a total of 1,519 cases filed between 2003 and 2011. From January to October of this year, however, 28 individuals were convicted, equivalent to more than a third of the number of people convicted over an eight-year period. These efforts cannot be dismissed. However, in the midst of these accomplishments, we need to do more.

These bills intend to strengthen the following: prosecution of pre-empted acts of trafficking; protection to trafficked victims; accomplice liability; and protection to trafficked victims in various stages of the investigation and prosecution process, among others.

Given the benefits that may redound from the passage of this measure, I hope that we can adopt its reconciled version in time for its signing on December 12 — the day of awareness and vigilance for the countless victims of Human Trafficking.
With that, I wish to open our discussions.