IACAT, Aussie think tank beef up efforts vs. human trafficking

MANILA Members of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) and an Australia-based think tank affirmed their commitment to end modern-day slavery and human trafficking in the country.

IACAT members received "knowledge product kits" from the Australia-Asia Program to Combat Trafficking in Persons (AAPTIP), which will help law enforcement officials in curbing the human trafficking menace.

The three knowledge products deal with the money laundering dimension of trafficking in persons, user-friendly victim witness information sheets and guidelines on the referral system.

In her opening remarks, National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Deputy Director Eleonor Rachel Angeles urged members of the IACAT to continue their unwavering support to curbing human trafficking.

"As a society which promotes the ideals of democracy and freedom we have invested vast amounts of time and resources in combatting these problems through proper legislation and enforcement but most important is the group effort since not one agency can tackle these problems alone," Angeles said.

"Let us all continue to work together united in our effort in promoting and ensuring a better and brighter tomorrow for our country and people in the years to come," she added.

The AAPTIP worked closely with IACAT to come up with the products as part of its efforts to stop human trafficking.

AAPTIP Country Program director Archimedes Siguan explained that the Global Slavery Index presently estimates there are 784,000 Filipinos living in modern slavery conditions in the Philippines, up from 260,000 in 2014.

According to the Australia-based think tank, an estimated seven persons out of every 1,000 Filipinos live in modern slavery conditions.

The country was likewise rated at 60.24 out of a possible maximum rating of 100 in terms of vulnerability to modern slavery.

Siguan, meanwhile, cited the Philippines' victory in the fight against human trafficking.

"When (Republic Act) 9208 (Anti Trafficking in Persons Act) was enacted, we have seen so much progress in the fight against human trafficking. We have been counted as (a) regional leader, the first in Southeast Asia," Siguan said.

"We have a continually evolving positive narrative as a country seeking to rid itself of the evil that is trafficking in persons," he added.

Source: Philippine News Agency