The U.S. wants the Philippines to increase its conviction rates of human trafficking or face a risk of aid being cut. U.S. Ambassador Harry Thomas although threatening with a downgrade under American traffic prevention standards was also keen to point out he had confidence in the new administration.
What may alarm people at least 300,000 Filipinos fall prey to this illegal activity annually. Now although Harry Thomas has stated “Clearly, the most important thing is how many convictions you have. So we’ll see,”. Knowing how the terminology is used here in the Philippines it can literally mean a car ride in definition used by PNP (as filed under the case in Bogo). Only reason I assume this is done is because it “increases arrest and convictions” for anti-trafficking although in theory they never left the country or were likely to. Which no doubt fudged the figures a bit at the same time doesn’t really look to solve the problem but maybe helps keep external funding coming in.
The American tier system is based on Tier 1 – 3 with 1 being high compliance. The Philippines has already been downgraded from 1 to 2 and now looking to drop even further to number 3 the reason being that poor impementation in 2008 and that if you stay at Tier 2 for 2 years running you automatically drop to Tier 3 unless given a waiver by the U.S. secretary of state.
Currently if the Philippines drops to tier 3 that would result in the end of non-humanitarian aid. The U.S. has played its part financially by injecting a total of $9million in support of anti-trafficking programs and organisations such as the Visayan Forum Foundation and International Justice Missions both in Manila and Cebu. At the same time is the Philippines playing ball in bringing in results? In 2010 there were 18 cases of conviction 2011 in the first 3 months the numbers have already reached 42. The question I will ask though is what is the “quality” of convictions because if its a majority of people caught in situations similar to the guy in Bogo its not really helped stem international trafficking and just been a white elephant in comparison to the results it brings compared to its cost, be interesting to see if anyone has come across that data.
Cases recorded have shown local and international trafficking with half the victims being minors trafficked into the Middle East, Malaysia and Singapore with many used for sex slaves or into forced labour.
An important factor in the data would also be to identify “who” is doing the trafficking as there seems to be pressure mainly put on Foreigners involvement yet most of the networking required would need local knowledge and easy access of being able to move large quantities of people which I doubt many Foreigners in the country actually have the ability to do.