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Gov’t intensifying anti-trafficking ops, rescues 106 victims - VP Binay

By OVP Media
June 24, 2012

MANILA  –  Intensifying its anti-trafficking operations, some 106 persons were rescued from being smuggled overseas by members of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) in three separate sting operations this month, Vice President Jejomar C. Binay said in Dubai.

Binay, Chairman Emeritus of the IACAT, said 85 of the would-be trafficking victims were rescued on June 4 by members of the Zamboanga Sea-Based Anti-Trafficking Task Force (ZSBATTF) on board the ML Kadrina at the boundary of Zamboanga and Pilas Islands.

“This is one of the biggest hauls we had this year. We intercepted 150 persons who were on board. But only 65 were officially declared on the ship’s manifest,” Binay said.

“What is worse was that the lives of the legitimate passengers were also put at risk because the boat was overloaded,” he lamented.

He added that the ZSBATTF started monitoring the boat in June 4 after receiving information that it will transport 40 would-be victims to Malaysia via Taganak.

On the other hand, 10 persons were intercepted at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal III on June 12 after a commotion they caused caught the attention IACAT agents assigned at the airport.

“Upon investigation, we learned that the passengers wanted to lodge a complaint against their recruiter who processed their travel documents and promised them work in the United States,” the Vice President said.

“We were also able to arrest the recruiter who was with the 10 when they were intercepted by IACAT operatives,” he added.

Meanwhile, a minor allegedly being forced to work as a stripper at bar in Manila was rescued during the IACAT’s latest operation on June 19.

“It was learned that the victim, along with another girl, was recruited in Davao City by a gay person who promised them jobs in Metro Manila,” said Binay.

“However, upon arriving in Manila, they learned the true nature of their job, that of a stripper and a Guest Relations Officer (GRO),” he added.

Furthermore, a Malaysian national was apprehended at the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA) on June 7 who was waiting for his flight along with his fiancée, whom the council believed to be a trafficking victim.

The Vice President said that while the suspect and the victim was being brought NAIA Terminal I for investigation, IACAT operatives were able to convince the victim to file a case against the Malaysian.

The suspect will be charged with violation of RA 9208 or the Anti-Trafficking Act of 2003.

The United States Department of State earlier released this year’s Global Trafficking in Persons (GTIP) Report which put the Philippines in Tier 2 status, the same tier it got in last year’s GTIP report.

Countries belonging to this tier do not meet the minimum requirements prescribed in the U.S. Trafficking Victims Protections Act, but are doing significant efforts to do so.

“We are taking the recommendations of the report seriously and are now looking into how we can further intensify our anti-trafficking operations and increase our conviction rate,” Binay said.

The Vice President said that he will convene the IACAT to determine how to address the recommendations of the U.S. State Department when he gets back from his trip to Rome next month.

He is scheduled to have a private audience with the Pope at the Vatican when he goes to Rome.

The Vice President is in Jeddah as President Benigno Aquino III’s representative to convey the Philippines’ condolences to the King of Saudi Araubi on the death of the Crown Prince last week.