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Cablegate: Philippines: Input for the 2008 Trafficking In

VZCZCXYZ0253
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHML #0539/01 0631122
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 031122Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9961
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEAHLC/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHZM/GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO IMMEDIATE 3476
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG IMMEDIATE 4827

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 16 MANILA 000539

SIPDIS

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

STATE FOR G/TIP, EAP/MTS, EAP/RSP, INL, DRL, IWI
LABOR FOR ILAB
JUSTICE FOR CIVIL RIGHTS DIVISION AND CRIMINAL DIVISION
DHS FOR ICE, CBP

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ASEC ELAB KCRM KFRD KWMN PHUM PREF PREL SMIG RP

SUBJECT: PHILIPPINES: INPUT FOR THE 2008 TRAFFICKING IN
PERSONS REPORT

REF: A. STATE 2731 (PREPARING THE TIP REPORT)
B. MANILA 333 (ANTI-TIP EFFORTS IN MINDANAO)
C. 07 MANILA 3320 (LAUNCH OF ANTI-TRAFFICKING CAMPAIGN)
D. 07 MANILA 3241 (ENERGIZING PHILIPPINE PROSECUTION EFFORTS)
E. 07 MANILA 2450 (LATEST TIP CONVICTION)
F. 07 MANILA 2405 (AMBASSADOR BREAKS GROUND ON TWO SHELTERS)
G. 07 MANILA 1924 (FROM MANILA TO ABIDJAN AND BACK)
H. 07 MANILA 1054 (PROSECUTING TIP OFFENDERS)
I. 07 MANILA 1043 (NEW TRAFFICKING CONVICTION)
J. 07 MANILA 788 (COMBATING TIP AT AIRPORT)

MANILA 00000539 001.2 OF 016


1. (U) This cable includes the Mission's input for the 2008
Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report. The information and statistics
cover the period from April 2007 to March 2008, unless otherwise
noted. The Mission's TIP point of contact is Political Officer
Barry Fullerton, FullertonTB@state.gov, tel. (632) 301-2350, fax
(632) 301-2472. Rank of TIP action officer is FS-03. Estimated
completion time for report: SFS officer: 2 hours; FS-01 officers: 2
hours; FS-02 officers: 8 hours; FS-03 officers: 60 hours; FSN: 60
hours.

2. (U) Sources of information involved in the preparation of this
report include the following Philippine government agencies: the
Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA); the Department of Justice
(DOJ); the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD); the
Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE); the Department of
Interior and Local Government (DILG); the National Bureau of
Investigation (NBI); the Bureau of Immigration (BI); the Philippine
National Police (PNP); the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency
(POEA); and the National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women
(NCRFW). The following NGOs also provided significant input: the
American Center for International Labor Solidarity (ACILS); Trade
Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP); the Visayan Forum
Foundation (VFF); The Asia Foundation (TAF); the International
Justice Mission (IJM); and the Coalition Against Trafficking in
Women, Asia Pacific (CATW-AP). Some information stemmed from media
reports.

------------------------------------
OVERVIEW OF THE COUNTRY'S ACTIVITIES
------------------------------------

3. (SBU) The answers below are keyed to the format contained in ref
A, para 27:

A. TRAFFICKING OVERVIEW: The Philippines is primarily an origin,
and to a lesser extent, a destination and transit country of men,
women, and children trafficked internationally for sexual
exploitation and forced labor. In a 2006 United Nations Office on
Drugs and Crime (UNODC) report on global patterns of trafficking,
the Philippines ranked "high" in the citation index as a country of
origin of trafficked persons. Trafficking also occurs within the
country's borders. Estimates of various non-government and
international organizations vary significantly -- some putting the
number of Philippine citizens trafficked internally, into Southeast
Asia, and beyond, at thousands each year. Aside from working in the
commercial sex industry, many trafficked persons work as domestic
servants, as well as in unsafe and exploitative industries as forced
labor.

Women face a far greater risk of becoming victims of trafficking
than men, and girls are more at risk than boys. Trafficking in
children is generally internal: children and young women from poor
farming communities in the Visayas (the central Philippines) and
Mindanao (the southern Philippines) are brought to major urban
centers and employed as factory workers, domestic helpers, or
prostitutes. Ethnic minorities, migrant workers, and other socially
marginalized groups are more at risk than other groups due to the
high prevalence of poverty among them.

The Philippine government has no central database of trafficking
information. The government's Inter-Agency Council Against
Trafficking in Persons (IACAT) planned to create a central database
for tracking cases of TIP; however, a lack of resources hampered the
government's intention to have a consolidated TIP database. Various
government agencies and non-government organizations document cases
of TIP generated from case studies, the number of beneficiaries of

MANILA 00000539 002.2 OF 016


programs extended to trafficking victims, and actual cases filed or
incidents reported to law enforcement agencies. Law enforcement
agencies reported 155 alleged trafficking cases to the Department of
Justice in 2007; of these, prosecutors filed 56 cases in court. In
2007, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)
provided services to 359 victims of trafficking or potential victims
of trafficking, 258 victims of child labor, and 44 victims of
pedophilia or child pornography. In 2007, the NGO Visayan Forum
Foundation provided services to 1,512 victims of trafficking rescued
at major seaports in the country.

B. UNDERSTANDING HUMAN TRAFFICKING IN THE PHILIPPINES: Endemic
poverty, a high unemployment and underemployment rate, a cultural
propensity to seek higher living standards elsewhere, a weak rule of
law environment, and a flourishing sex tourism industry all
contributed to the continuation of trafficking in the Philippines.
Persons were trafficked from poor, rural areas throughout the
Philippines to major urban areas within the country, especially
Metro Manila and Cebu, but also increasingly to cities in Mindanao.
A significant percentage of the victims of internal trafficking were
from the Visayas and Mindanao and were fleeing poverty or violence.
In 2007, 58 percent of the trafficking victims rescued by the
Visayan Forum were from Mindanao. Victims of internal trafficking
work as domestic servants or small-factory workers, as well as in
the drug trade and in the commercial sex industry. They were often
subject to violence, threats, debt bondage, inhumane living
conditions, non-payment of salaries, and withholding of documents.

Traffickers most often targeted the multitudes of workers seeking
overseas and urban employment. More than one million Philippine
workers engaged in temporary overseas work assignments to all parts
of the world in 2007. An estimated 11 percent of Gross National
Product came from workers' remittances. The most common recruits
for trafficking were girls and young women aged 13 to 30 from rural
areas, mainly from impoverished families. Girls from ethnic
minorities as young as ten years old also ended up as commercial sex
workers.

Traffickers usually sent female recruiters to their own
neighborhoods or villages to recruit friends or relatives, providing
the victims a false sense of security. Traffickers often
masqueraded as private employment recruiters, while actually
cooperating with organized crime rings. The most common method to
approach victims was to promise respectable and lucrative jobs with
good benefits such as free room and board, transportation, and cash
advances. Parents and guardians were often supportive, believing
that work abroad is the key to ascending the socio-economic ladder.


NGOs suggested that organized crime syndicates from Japan and China
controlled most of the sex industry in Manila. Employment agencies
were involved in much of the trafficking both within the country and
to overseas destinations. They may also have had a role in
trafficking of persons into the country. Some of these agencies may
have also undertaken legitimate recruitment of personnel, making it
particularly challenging to identify illegal recruitment, as the
line between legitimate and illegitimate agencies was blurred.
Other recruiters may have been relatives or neighbors, while some
parents and guardians sold their children into bondage. In many
cases, trafficking syndicates used women in their mid-40s or older
to seek out victims, given many victims' perception that older women
were less likely to harm them.

Traffickers used land and sea transportation to transfer victims
from island provinces to major cities within the country. The
system of ferries and barges connecting the islands from Mindanao to
Luzon was the most common and cheapest mode of travel used by
traffickers to transport victims. Traffickers also took advantage
of the growing budget airline carriers to transport victims out of
the country. Traffickers used fake travel documents, falsified
permits, and altered birth certificates.

Foreign trafficking rings brought the victims to destinations
throughout Asia, Europe, the Middle East, North America, and Africa.
In 2007, foreign service posts of the Philippine Department of
Foreign Affairs reported that the majority of victims of trafficking
rescued were from Malaysia and Singapore, while the rest were from

MANILA 00000539 003 OF 016


Thailand, China, Hong Kong, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana
Islands, Palau, Japan, United Arab Emirates, Ivory Coast, Cyprus,
Turkey, and Canada. The Philippines was only occasionally a
destination point for internationally trafficked individuals.
Reports indicated trafficking of women into the Philippines from
China and, more recently Thailand, for the purpose of sexual
exploitation. International organized crime gangs also transited
trafficked persons from mainland China through the Philippines to
third country destinations.

The government made progress in combating trafficking in 2007,
particularly in the areas of law enforcement coordination and victim
protection and assistance. The government secured convictions in
three cases in 2007 (two during the reporting period), and law
enforcement agencies filed more than 150 cases of alleged
trafficking with prosecutors. Of these cases, DOJ prosecutors filed
56 in court, while the rest remained in preliminary investigation or
were dismissed due to lack of evidence or on technicalities. Since
2003, DOJ filed 198 cases of trafficking in court. Slow processing
times, as well as corruption within law enforcement agencies,
appeared to be the key obstacles to additional convictions in 2007.
Local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) continued to provide
assistance to victims and placed pressure on government officials to
bolster anti-TIP activities.

C. GOVERNMENT EFFORTS: Several cabinet-level agencies and
sub-agencies actively worked to combat trafficking in the
Philippines. The IACAT coordinated, monitored, and oversaw the
implementation of the anti-trafficking law (Republic Act 9208 of
2003), and served as an umbrella organization to coordinate anti-TIP
efforts. The Secretary of Justice and the Secretary of Social
Welfare and Development co-chaired the IACAT. Other member agencies
included Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Labor and
Employment, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, National
Commission on the Role of Filipino Women, National Bureau of
Investigation, Bureau of Immigration, and Philippine National
Police. Three non-government organizations representing women,
children, and overseas workers were also part of the IACAT.

Other government agencies' efforts to combat human trafficking
included:

-- The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) extended assistance to
victims of trafficking abroad and oversaw the voluntary repatriation
of victims. It acted as the central coordinating unit for all
bilateral, regional, and multilateral efforts. The DFA's Commission
on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) provided pre-departure orientation and
counseling services and offered liaison services to citizens
immigrating overseas with the help of other government and private
agencies. The CFO also coordinated with the Bureau of Immigration
(BI) regarding the apprehension of violators. In coordination with
Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), the DFA, through its
Philippine embassies, took the lead in protecting the rights of
migrant workers abroad. Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLOs),
the operating arm and overseas representative of DOLE, were under
the supervision of the Philippine Chief of Mission or Ambassador;

-- The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) focused
on the protection of victims and was the responsible agency for the
social reintegration of victims of trafficking. DSWD operated 42
temporary shelters for victims throughout the country. In addition
to DSWD's services within the Philippines, social workers were
deployed to the Philippine diplomatic missions in Hong Kong,
Singapore, Taipei, Tokyo, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait City, and Riyadh
to provide psycho-social counseling to overseas Filipino workers
(OFWs) in distress, and worked in conjunction with POLOs;

-- The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) was responsible for
coordinating the government's campaign against illegal recruitment,
and for maintaining records of overseas Filipino workers. It
ensured the strict implementation of, and compliance with, the rules
and guidelines on the employment of persons locally and overseas.
It also monitored, documented, and reported cases of trafficking in
persons involving employers and labor recruiters. DOLE officers
worked as labor attaches at Philippine diplomatic missions and spent
much of their time assisting overseas workers. Thirty-nine labor
attaches served at thirty-four POLOs around the world at Philippine

MANILA 00000539 004 OF 016


diplomatic missions;

-- The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), an attached
agency of DOLE, had responsibility for protecting overseas workers
and their dependents. It provided counseling and legal assistance
programs to overseas workers and conducted information dissemination
and awareness campaigns. In countries with large numbers of OFWs,
an OWWA officer often served as Assistant Labor Attache;

-- The Department of Justice was responsible for protecting the
rights of victims of trafficking and prosecuting traffickers. It
also offered free legal assistance for trafficked persons in
coordination with the DSWD and NGOs. After the passage of the
anti-trafficking law in May 2003, DOJ established the Task Force on
Anti-Trafficking in Persons, composed of 17 prosecutors from the DOJ
who focused specifically on trafficking. Additionally,
approximately 72 prosecutors in regional DOJ offices handle cases of
trafficking in persons. DOJ continued to lead the government's
efforts, with the Secretary of Justice acting as Chair of the
government's anti-TIP coordinating body, the Inter-Agency Council
Against Trafficking in Persons;

-- The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the Philippine
National Police (PNP), and the National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM)
worked to identify, investigate, and dismantle trafficking
operations and prosecute offenders. The NBI created a task force
focused solely on investigating trafficking allegations, a task
force on the protection of women against exploitation and abuse and
a task force on the protection of children from exploitation and
abuse;

-- The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) conducted
systematic information and prevention campaigns and, together with
NAPOLCOM, was creating a databank for the efficient monitoring,
documentation, and prosecution of cases of trafficking in persons;

-- The National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women (NCRFW)
instituted development plans for women and provided technical
assistance in setting up and strengthening response to gender
issues. It formulated and monitored policies on trafficking in
persons in coordination with relevant government agencies;

-- The Bureau of Immigration (BI) administered and enforced
immigration and alien administration laws and adopted measures for
the apprehension of suspected traffickers both at the place of
arrival and departure. It ensured the compliance of Filipinos
engaged or married to foreign nationals with the guidance and
counseling requirements in the trafficking law. It also controlled
and monitored border points by deploying deputized marines to help
enforce immigration laws;

-- The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA),
affiliated with DOLE, was the primary administrator of licenses for
recruitment agencies. An average of 3,000 citizens visited POEA's
main office each day, seeking employment overseas. Recruitment
agencies cannot solicit employees for overseas work without the
permission of POEA. POEA had authority to place on probation or bar
from recruiting new workers any agencies in violation of POEA
standards. POEA also administered pre-employment orientation
seminars and pre-departure counseling programs to applicants for
overseas employment. POEA trained diplomatic staff, overseas labor
officers, and social welfare officers in methods for assisting
trafficking victims abroad. It also provided free legal assistance
to trafficked victims. In December 2006, POEA issued new employment
requirements for overseas Filipino household workers better to
protect them from widespread employer abuse and trafficking in
persons. The new requirements increased the monthly minimum wage
from US$200 to US$400 and raised the minimum age from 18 to 23;

-- Philippine Center on Transnational Crime (PCTC) collected
information for the effective monitoring, documentation, and
prosecution of trafficking cases of foreign nationals.

D. LIMITATIONS ON GOVERNMENT EFFORTS: The Philippines remains one of
the poorest countries in Asia. The government's ability to address
the trafficking problem remained limited by inadequate resources,
including for police. Corruption in the government and the general

MANILA 00000539 005 OF 016


ineffectiveness of the judicial system were also factors that
impeded the government's ability to prosecute trafficking cases.
The lack of resources and high judgeship vacancy rate in the
judiciary significantly slowed trial times. A 2005 UN Development
Program (UNDP) and Philippine Supreme Court study found that the
average trial takes over three years. Many government agencies have
not yet fully implemented the 2003 anti-trafficking law due to lack
of training and orientation on the scope and magnitude of the
problem.

National and international NGOs and other foreign donors (including
the USG) complemented official government programs. Anti-trafficking
resources focused primarily on prevention and protection for
overseas Filipino workers. The strongest efforts existed in the
areas of helping to prevent persons from becoming victims,
repatriating victims in destination countries, and reintegrating
them into Philippine society upon their return home.

E. MONITORING ANTI-TRAFFICKING EFFORTS: The government had no
central database of trafficking information. Several agencies
maintained their own separate databases, but many of these did not
focus exclusively on trafficking. The Philippine Center on
Transnational Crime (PCTC) collected information on transnational
crime activities, but its records were not comprehensive. The
Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO), an attached agency of the
DFA, developed a database to monitor legal problems involving
Filipinos overseas, but its system was not restricted to trafficking
and also generated reports on other cases such as domestic violence
and human smuggling. The CFO plans to integrate this information
into a shared government database on migration. The DILG tasked the
National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM) to maintain a database of
trafficking cases based on the quarterly reports from PNP. In
December 2006, the DILG directed the PNP to monitor trafficking
cases and to provide information to the NAPOLCOM database. While
law enforcement information was entered into the database in 2007,
the system was not yet a reliable source of trafficking data.

Government officials involved in anti-TIP activities met regularly
with concerned NGOs, foreign donors, embassies, and regional and
international organizations to share information and assessments,
but all agreed solid data about the extent of the problem remained
difficult to obtain.

In November and December 2007, IACAT, in partnership with NGOs and
with support from the donor community, held three sub-national
conferences on anti-trafficking in persons in the three main areas
of the Philippines -- Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. The conferences
brought together government organizations, NGOs, and civil society
groups to assess ongoing government and non-government initiatives
to combat trafficking; make recommendations for further
advancements; and share relevant experiences, best practices, and
success stories.

--------------------------------------------
INVESTIGATION AND PROSECUTION OF TRAFFICKERS
--------------------------------------------

4. (SBU) The answers below are keyed to the format contained in ref
A, para 28.

A. LAWS AGAINST HUMAN TRAFFICKING: The Anti-Trafficking in Persons
Act of 2003 (Republic Act 9208) is the Philippine landmark
legislation to protect women and children from sexual exploitation
and forced labor. The law affirmed the government's resolve to
prevent and suppress the illegal trade in persons, especially women
and children, and carried penalties not only against traffickers but
also against users or buyers of victims. Under the law, the
recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipt of a
minor for the purpose of exploitation was enough to file a case
against a trafficker. It is not necessary to show that such acts
were made through threats, use of force, or other coercive measures.
The law penalizes both internal and transnational trafficking.

In addition to the anti-trafficking law, the government used several
laws to prosecute traffickers, including: the Migrant Workers and
Overseas Filipinos Act (Republic Act 8042), which gave the
government the authority to combat illegal recruiting; the

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MAIL-ORDER BRIDE LAW (REPUBLIC ACT 6955), WHICH MADE IT UNLAWFUL FOR
FOREIGN MEN TO MARRY FILIPINO WOMEN FOR THE PURPOSE OF EXPLOITATION;
THE INTER-COUNTRY ADOPTION ACT OF 1995 (REPUBLIC ACT 8043), WHICH
SOUGHT TO PROTECT FILIPINO CHILDREN FROM ABUSE, EXPLOITATION,
TRAFFICKING, AND/OR SALE; THE SPECIAL PROTECTION OF CHILDREN AGAINST
CHILD ABUSE, EXPLOITATION, AND DISCRIMINATION ACT (REPUBLIC ACT
7610), WHICH ESTABLISHED PENALTIES FOR CHILD EXPLOITATION, INCLUDING
CHILD TRAFFICKING; AND THE ANTI-CHILD LABOR LAW (REPUBLIC ACT 9231),
WHICH PROHIBITED THE EMPLOYMENT OF CHILDREN BELOW THE AGE OF 15
EXCEPT WHEN GRANTED SPECIAL PERMISSION BY DOLE, AND GUARANTEED THE
PROTECTION, HEALTH, AND SAFETY OF CHILD WORKERS.

B. PENALTIES UNDER THE TRAFFICKING LAW: THE ANTI-TRAFFICKING IN
PERSONS ACT OF 2003 IMPOSED HARSH PENALTIES ON PERSONS ENGAGED IN
TRAFFICKING. THE LAW DISTINGUISHED BETWEEN THREE TYPES OF
VIOLATIONS: DIRECT PARTICIPATION IN TRAFFICKING; ACTS THAT PROMOTED
TRAFFICKING; AND MORE SERIOUS ACTS OF TRAFFICKING, CALLED
"QUALIFIED" TRAFFICKING. THE PENALTY FOR A DIRECT ACT WAS A FINE OF
P1 MILLION TO P2 MILLION (25,000 TO 50,000 USD) AND UP TO 20 YEARS
IMPRISONMENT; PROMOTION OF TRAFFICKING THROUGH FALSIFICATION OF
DOCUMENTS AND TAMPERING WITH CERTIFICATES CARRIED UP TO 15 YEARS
IMPRISONMENT AND A FINE OF P500,000 TO P1 MILLION (12,500 TO 25,000
USD). THE MAXIMUM PENALTY APPLIED WHERE THE VICTIM WAS A CHILD,
TRAFFICKING WAS CONDUCTED ON A LARGE SCALE, OR THE CRIME INVOLVED
MILITARY OR LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES AND PUBLIC OFFICERS OR
EMPLOYEES, RESULTING IN LIFE IMPRISONMENT AND A FINE OF P2 MILLION
TO P5 MILLION (50,000 TO 125,000 USD). THOSE WHO ENGAGED THE
SERVICES OF TRAFFICKED PERSONS FOR PROSTITUTION FACED PENALTIES OF
BETWEEN SIX MONTHS OF COMMUNITY SERVICE AND A FINE OF P50,000 (1,250
USD) TO A MAXIMUM OF ONE YEAR IMPRISONMENT AND A FINE OF P100,000
(2,500 USD).

THE ANTI-TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS ACT OF 2003 LAW PRESCRIBES THE SAME
PENALTIES FOR TRAFFICKING FOR PURPOSES OF SEXUAL EXPLOITATION,
PROSTITUTION, PORNOGRAPHY, FORCED LABOR, SLAVERY, INVOLUNTARY
SERVITUDE, OR DEBT BONDAGE. DURING THE REPORTING PERIOD, TWO CASES
OF TRAFFICKING FOR SEXUAL EXPLOITATION, ONE IN CEBU CITY AND ANOTHER
IN DAVAO CITY, RESULTED IN THE CONVICTION OF THREE TRAFFICKERS. THE
JUDGE IN EACH CASE FOUND THE DEFENDANTS GUILTY OF "QUALIFIED"
TRAFFICKING, AND IMPOSED THE MAXIMUM PENALTY - LIFE IMPRISONMENT.
IN THE JULY 20 RULING IN CEBU CITY, THE JUDGE ALSO ORDERED THE TWO
DEFENDANTS TO PAY A FINE OF USD 75,000. IN THE JULY 27 RULING IN
DAVAO CITY, THE JUDGE ORDERED THE TRAFFICKER TO PAY A FINE OF USD
50,000.

C. PUNISHMENT FOR LABOR TRAFFICKING OFFENSES: THE ANTI-TRAFFICKING
LAW CLEARLY STATED THAT IT WAS ILLEGAL TO RECRUIT, TRANSPORT,
TRANSFER, HARBOR, PROVIDE, OR RECEIVE A PERSON BY ANY MEANS,
INCLUDING UNDER THE PRETEXT OF DOMESTIC OR OVERSEAS EMPLOYMENT,
TRAINING, OR APPRENTICESHIP, FOR THE PURPOSE OF PROSTITUTION,
PORNOGRAPHY, SEXUAL EXPLOITATION, FORCED LABOR, SLAVERY, INVOLUNTARY
SERVITUDE, OR DEBT BONDAGE. ACTIVITIES THAT PROMOTED OR FACILITATED
TRAFFICKING COULD RESULT IN IMPRISONMENT OF UP TO 15 YEARS AND A
FINE BETWEEN P500,000 TO P1 MILLION (12,500 TO 25,000 USD). THERE
HAD BEEN NO CONVICTIONS FOR TRAFFICKING FOR FORCED LABOR.

THE MIGRANT WORKERS AND OVERSEAS FILIPINOS ACT OF 1995 (REPUBLIC ACT
8042) REGULATES THE RECRUITMENT AND DEPLOYMENT OF FILIPINOS FOR
OVERSEAS WORK. THE LAW IMPOSES IMPRISONMENT OF SIX TO 12 YEARS AND
A FINE OF P200,000 TO P500,000 (5,000 TO 12,500 USD) TO RECRUITERS
AND PLACEMENT AGENCIES THAT ARE NOT REGISTERED WITH THE POEA, AND TO
RECRUITERS, WHETHER REGISTERED OR NOT, WHO PLACE WORKERS IN JOBS
HARMFUL TO HEALTH AND MORALITY, OR ALTER EMPLOYMENT CONTRACTS TO THE
PREJUDICE OF THE WORKER.

IN 2007, POEA FILED 469 ADMINISTRATIVE CASES AGAINST LICENSED LABOR
RECRUITERS WHO USED FRAUDULENT AND DECEPTIVE OFFERS TO ENTICE
JOBSEEKERS OR IMPOSED INAPPROPRIATELY HIGH OR ILLEGAL FEES ON
PROSPECTIVE EMPLOYEES.

D. PENALTIES FOR RAPE OR SEXUAL ASSAULT: UNDER REPUBLIC ACT 8353,
THE ANTI-RAPE LAW OF 1997, THE PENALTY FOR RAPE IS LIFE
IMPRISONMENT. UNDER REPUBLIC ACT 7877, OR THE ANTI-SEXUAL
HARASSMENT ACT OF 1995, ANY PERSON WHO VIOLATED THE PROVISIONS OF
THE ACT SHALL FACE IMPRISONMENT OF NOT LESS THAN ONE MONTH OR MORE
THAN SIX MONTHS, OR A FINE OF UP TO P20,000 (500 USD), OR BOTH A
FINE AND IMPRISONMENT.

MANILA 00000539 007.2 OF 016

E. PROSTITUTION LAWS: Prostitution was illegal, but remained
widespread. Many prostitutes worked independently in small brothels
rather than in prominent entertainment clubs. Hostesses, referred
to as "guest relations officers" (GROs), sometimes engaged in
illegal prostitution, although their employers usually barred them
from leaving an establishment with a customer. The government
required GROs to undergo frequent health checks.

An anti-prostitution bill remained under consideration in the House
of Representatives. It would punish those involved in the industry,
such as pimps and brothel owners, while decriminalizing the action
of those exploited in the prostitution industry. The draft bill
stated that women and children who engaged in prostitution could be
victims and should be free from criminal liability. It also stated
that people exploited in prostitution were entitled to support and
protection, and could seek legal redress.

F. PROSECUTING HUMAN TRAFFICKING OFFENDERS: Since the passage of the
2003 anti-trafficking law, the Department of Justice has obtained
convictions in eight cases. In 2007, law enforcement agencies
reported 155 trafficking cases to DOJ for review. Of these, DOJ
filed 56 in court. Seventy-seven cases remained in preliminary
investigation at DOJ; three were filed under other related laws; and
19 were dismissed by the prosecution. Since 2003, DOJ has filed 198
cases under the anti-trafficking law in court. During the reporting
period, Philippine courts convicted three individuals in two cases
under the 2003 anti-trafficking law. All three traffickers received
life sentences after the courts found them guilty of "qualified
trafficking" of minors for prostitution. The convicted traffickers
remained in jail serving their life sentences.

Despite the DOJ's intensified efforts to prosecute and convict
traffickers, the majority of cases continued to drag because of an
overburdened judicial system. Judicial process on average takes
three years from the filing of charges to resolution of a case.
There were convictions under related legislation, such as child
abuse and illegal recruitment.

Under certain circumstances and with approval of the court,
Philippine law permitted private attorneys to prosecute cases under
the direction and control of a public prosecutor. These "private
prosecutors" serve on behalf of the victims in court proceedings.
The government used this provision effectively, allowing and
supporting International Justice Mission (IJM) and other NGOs that
provide legal assistance to investigate and prosecute trafficking
cases. In addition to DOJ's ongoing TIP cases, IJM initiated 32
criminal cases of qualified trafficking against suspected
traffickers since 2003. Of these 32 cases, one resulted in a
conviction (the July 20 conviction in Cebu City); 14 remained on
trial at the end of the reporting period; eight were in preliminary
hearings; eight were under investigation; and one was archived
because the accused remained at large.

The government actively investigated cases of trafficking-related
offenses, but was hampered by scarce resources. The principal
investigative agencies were BI, NBI, and PNP. At PNP, the Criminal
Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) and the Women and
Children's Concerns Division handled most trafficking cases. In
2007, PNP investigated 104 cases of trafficking involving women and
children. PNP recommended 103 cases to the DOJ for prosecution.

From April 2007 to January 2008 the NBI's Anti-Human Trafficking
Division investigated 97 complaints of trafficking. At the end of
the reporting period, one case was filed with DOJ for potential
prosecution. The Philippine Center for Transnational Crime
investigated nine cases of trafficking. The BI ensured that all
foreign nationals within its territorial jurisdiction complied with
existing laws to ensure the protection of women and children against
commercial sexual exploitation. BI's interceptions at Philippine
airports typically went to NBI for further investigation.

G. TRAINING FOR GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS: Government agencies continued
to increase the frequency of TIP training and orientation efforts.
The programs included training for several thousand officials,
including prosecutors, judges, NBI investigators, local government
units, and city councilors. In 2007, the IACAT, with the support

MANILA 00000539 008.3 OF 016


from USAID's Rule of Law Effectiveness Program, conducted the
Filipino Initiative Against Trafficking, a series of activities
including training of prosecutors, law enforcers and social workers,
on effective coordination in the investigation and prosecution of
trafficking cases. The USG, UNICEF, and other donors also supported
training of police officers and prosecutors.

The PCTC conducted training on upgrading its personnel's skills in
combating transnational crimes, including trafficking. POEA
sponsored a seminar on evidence-gathering for the effective
prosecution of illegal recruitment and participated in various
forums on human trafficking.

H. INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION: The government cooperated with other
countries in the investigation and prosecution of TIP cases,
particularly in cases with Malaysia, Hong Kong, New Zealand, and
Australia. Because there was no central database linking the
various law enforcement agencies, numbers of cooperative
investigations conducted were not available. The Philippines had
treaties on mutual legal assistance on criminal matters with
Australia and the United States. The Philippines was also a
signatory to the ASEAN Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty to share
information and evidence among ASEAN member-states.

The Philippines participated in other international efforts to
prevent, monitor, and control trafficking. Having completed Phase I
of an agreement with the United Nations Center for International
Crime Prevention-Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention
(CICP/ODCCP) to gather information on organized criminal groups
involved in trafficking, the DSWD began implementation of the second
phase of a project to provide capacity building to service providers
in havens for women and children, rehabilitate trafficked victims by
providing full security, financial assistance, and non-formal
training, and establish linkages with the business community for
possible internship programs.

I. EXTRADITIONS: Philippine law permits extradition, and the
Philippines had extradition treaties with Australia, Canada, the
Federated States of Micronesia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Republic of
Korea, Switzerland, the United States, and the Kingdom of Thailand.
Under the terms of the 2003 anti-trafficking law, trafficking in
persons is considered an extraditable offense. However, the
government received no extradition requests for trafficking
offenders, foreign or national, during the reporting period.

J. GOVERNMENT INVOLVEMENT AND/OR TOLERANCE: Government officials at
all levels publicly stated their commitment to combating trafficking
in the Philippines. While there was no evidence that the
government, as an institution, tolerated, permitted or allowed
trafficking crimes, widespread corruption at all levels of
government permitted many organized crime groups, including
traffickers, to conduct their illegal activities. Corruption among
law enforcement agents remained pervasive. At the street level, it
was not uncommon for officers to demand petty bribes for minor
offenses, real or alleged. Law enforcement officers often extracted
protection money in exchange for permitting businesses to conduct
legitimate operations without necessary permits, or for illegitimate
businesses, such as brothel owners or gambling and drug lords. It
is widely believed that some government officials are involved in,
or at least permit, trafficking operations within the country.

K. EFFORTS TO INVESTIGATE AND PROSECUTE GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS FOR
INVOLVEMENT IN TRAFFICKING: During the reporting period, the
prosecution and defense attorney concluded the presentation of
evidence in the trial of police officer Dennis Reci, charged in June
2005 for allegedly trafficking minors for sexual exploitation at his
nightclub in Manila. Reci remained under detention while the case
was pending court's decision. A decision is expected in 2008.

In February 2007, the Task Force Against Trafficking at the Ninoy
Aquino International Airport (NAIA), an inter-agency task force
composed of DOJ, BI, Customs, Airport Police and the Manila
International Airport Authority, was formed to combat trafficking at
the airport by intercepting undocumented passengers, assisting
trafficking victims, and monitoring reported involvement of airport
personnel. During the reporting period, the NAIA Task Force filed
one case of trafficking in persons involving an immigration employee

MANILA 00000539 009.2 OF 016


at the airport. Two other cases of trafficking-related corruption
involving four immigration personnel were filed with the Office of
the Ombudsman. Because of reports of alleged collusion of
government officials and immigration employees with organized
trafficking syndicates, the Bureau of Immigration instituted a
number of preventive measures at the airports, including prohibition
of immigration officers from carrying mobile phones on duty and
regular rotation of officers at assigned counters.

In 2007, the Office of the Ombudsman created the Tanodbayan
(Ombudsman) Against Government Employees Involved in Trafficking
(TARGET), composed of special investigators and prosecutors tasked
to investigate cases against government officials engaged in
trafficking in persons or trafficking-related corruption. The
Office of the Ombudsman also conducted a study to identify points
within government procedures that were particularly vulnerable to
corruption and trafficking, and expressed commitment to investigate
enforcement gaps.

L. INTERNATIONAL PEACEKEEPING TROOPS: The Philippines deployed a
total of 725 military and police personnel in nine United Nations
peacekeeping missions. There were no reports of Philippine
peacekeepers engaging in or facilitating trafficking. Before
deploying troops to peacekeeping operations, the Department of
National Defense and the PNP conducted seminars and training for
peacekeepers, including a training module on trafficking in persons.
The DFA also provides pre-departure orientation seminars to foreign
service officers and other government personnel, including military
and police, before being assigned abroad.

M. CHILD SEX TOURISM: Child sex tourism continued to be a serious
problem for the Philippines. Sex tourists reportedly came from
Asia, Europe, and North America to engage in sexual activity with
minors. The government cooperated with the USG in prosecuting
American nationals under the terms of the U.S. PROTECT Act of 2003,
which criminalized the commission by American nationals overseas of
child abuse, including child pornography and other sexual offenses
against a minor. At the end of the reporting period, Immigration
and Customs Enforcement (ICE) of the U.S. Department of Homeland
Security had nine ongoing PROTECT Act investigations in
collaboration with Philippine law enforcement. ICE received stellar
cooperation from the government in three earlier PROTECT Act cases
involving Edilberto Datan, Bernard Lawrence Russell, and John W.
Seljan. In each case, the individuals traveled to the Philippines
to engage in sexual activity with minors. All three received
convictions; courts also ordered Edilberto Datan and Bernard Russell
to pay restitution fees to their victims.

------------------------------------
PROTECTION AND ASSISTANCE TO VICTIMS
------------------------------------

5. (SBU) The answers below are keyed to the format contained in ref
A, para 29.

A. ASSISTANCE TO FOREIGN TRAFFICKED VICTIMS: The Anti-Trafficking
Law provides that foreign trafficked victims or trafficking victims
who transit the Philippines are entitled to the same assistance and
protections as Philippine citizens. The government provides
temporary residency status, relief from deportation, shelter, and
access to legal, medical, and psychological services to foreign
victims of trafficking. During the reporting period, the Philippine
Center for Transnational Crime, in cooperation with the Embassy of
Thailand in the Philippines, assisted three victims of trafficking
from Thailand.

B. GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE TO TRAFFICKING VICTIMS: The government
assisted victims by providing temporary residency status, relief
from deportation, shelter, and access to legal, medical, and
psychological services. Additional protective services included
telephone hotlines for reporting abused/exploited cases of women and
children. The DSWD's Residential Care unit provided 24-hour
residential group care to children on a temporary basis to
facilitate healing, recovery, and reintegration with their families
and communities. DSWD maintained 42 residential care units; of
these, 13 centers were for women, 13 for girls, and the remaining
for men, boys, and the elderly. Substitute homes, or havens, served

MANILA 00000539 010.2 OF 016


the needs of female victims of trafficking and other forms of abuse.
Twelve substitute homes provided shelter for over 1,400 women and
their children. The DSWD also referred cases to accredited NGOs for
children and accredited NGOs for women, which provided temporary
shelter and community services to women and children in crisis,
including victims of trafficking. While DSWD's efforts to protect
victims were impressive, government funding for DSWD's programs
remained inadequate.

Crisis intervention and child protection units operated in many
public hospitals throughout the country. The crisis units also
provided telephone counseling, conducted rescue operations, and
provided overnight facilities and referral services for longer-term
shelters. Women and Children Protection Units in Department of
Health (DOH) hospitals offered medical services and psychological
counseling to victims of violence. The Philippine General Hospital
in Manila evaluated and treated TIP victims on behalf of the
government.

C. GOVERNMENT SUPPORT OF NGO SERVICES FOR VICTIMS: The government
cooperated well with NGOs to support and provide services to
trafficking victims. The Philippine Ports Authority's Gender and
Development (GAD) Focal Point Program, an agency under the DOTC,
provided the building and amenities for a halfway house, which the
VFF managed. Activities of the halfway house staff included regular
inspection of the different port areas, assistance to possible
victims of traffickers and victims of illegal recruitment,
information dissemination, and basic orientation seminars.

VFF ran the Multi-Sectoral Network Against Trafficking in Persons
(MSNAT) to promote cooperation and sustain partnership among
government, NGOs, the private sector, and civil society. Government
partners included the DOJ, DOLE, DFA, DILG, DSWD, National Police
Commission, Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), and the Commission on
Human Rights. DSWD provided limited funding to accredited NGOs to
help meet the basic needs of victims, such as food, clothing,
medicine, and legal services. With assistance from DFA, DSWD
established arrangements with NGOs in other countries to provide
distressed OFWs with temporary shelter, counseling, and medical
assistance.

VFF, which the State Department's Trafficking in Persons Report
highlighted in 2004 for its best practices, works closely with
Philippine Ports Authority to operate halfway houses for victims and
potential victims of TIP. VFF currently operates shelters in
Batangas, Davao, Manila, Sorsogon, and Zamboanga. It plans to open
additional halfway houses and safe houses in Iloilo and Surigao in
2008.

In July 2006, VFF signed a 10-year agreement with the Manila
International Airport Authority to establish an airport halfway
house for TIP victims. Under this partnership, VFF will also train
airport immigration and customs officials on how to identify
potential victims of human trafficking.

In general, NGOs cannot rely on government funding. They typically
turned to foreign governments, foreign and domestic religious
groups, third-country and multinational donor agencies, and private
foundations. However, the government remained highly aware of the
value of NGOs in combating trafficking, and routinely sought
cooperation and input from NGOs.

D. LAW ENFORCEMENT IDENTIFICATION OF TRAFFICKING VICTIMS: The
implementing rules of the 2003 anti-trafficking law outlined
procedures to identify and refer victims of trafficking, whether the
incident occurred inside or outside of the country. After rescue
operations, investigation, and filing of cases, victims of
trafficking rescued within the country went under the custody of the
DSWD for proper treatment. For cases overseas, consular officers
and personnel from the POLO conducted visits to the jail, work site,
or residence of the victim, and then provided temporary shelter, and
legal, financial, and repatriation assistance to the victims. Upon
arrival in the Philippines, the DSWD, the NBI, or PNP provided
psycho-social interventions, psychological and medical examinations,
and therapy sessions, if necessary.

Port personnel referred victims, as well as domestic workers

MANILA 00000539 011.3 OF 016


detained at port police stations, to the halfway houses run by the
VFF. The DSWD also referred cases of physical and verbal abuse
against domestic workers to VFF for psycho-social intervention and
short-term care until repatriation of the victims. The VFF
maintained five halfway houses in strategic port areas in Batangas,
Manila, Davao, Sorsogon, and Zamboanga City. VFF similarly
coordinated with the PPA, DOLE, DSWD, shipping companies, and
workers' groups. Halfway house staff provided direct services to
trafficked victims in ports, including temporary shelter, referral,
repatriation, and counseling.

E. COUNTRIES WITH LEGALIZED PROSTITUTION: This question is not
applicable to the Philippines.

F. TREATMENT OF TRAFFICKING VICTIMS: The 2003 anti-trafficking law
recognized trafficked persons as victims and did not penalize them
for crimes related to the acts of trafficking or for obeying
traffickers, regardless of their consent to exploitation. Police
sometimes brought charges of vagrancy against prostitutes and
trafficked victims.

G. VICTIM COOPERATION WITH LAW ENFORCEMENT: The government actively
encouraged victims to assist in the investigation and prosecution of
trafficking and related crimes. Victims can file civil suits or
seek legal action against traffickers. The Secretary of Justice
issued a DOJ Circular instructing that all cases involving
violations of the anti-trafficking law should receive preferential
attention. The circular also ordered all prosecutors to reject
calls by defense attorneys for dismissal of cases in which the
victims recant their testimony. Pursuant to the Rape Victim
Assistance and Protection Act, an all-female team of police
officers, examining physicians, and prosecutors must handle
investigations of offenses committed against women. In the case of
trafficked children, the Special Protection of Children Act and the
Rule on Examination of a Child Witness mandated that a single panel
conduct an interview to avoid the potential damaging effect of
feeling re-victimized through a series of repeated questioning. All
fines by the courts on offenders accrue to a trust fund that IACAT
administered, which it used to prevent acts of trafficking, protect
and rehabilitate victims, and reintegrate trafficked persons into
the community.

H. VICTIM AND WITNESS PROTECTION: Under the Witness Protection,
Security, and Benefit Program, the DOJ offered protection to
witnesses from reprisals and economic dislocation by providing
security protection, immunity from criminal prosecution, housing,
livelihood expenses, travel expenses, medical benefits, education to
dependents, and job security. However, some witness protection
participants complained of insufficient security and of abusive
guards. Moreover, due to lack of resources to fund the program,
many who would have liked to participate could not. Many other
potential witnesses may not have been aware of the existence of this
program. In addition to the halfway houses, VFF also ran two
safehouses in Manila and Legazpi for longer protective custody of
victims, especially for those who decided to take legal actions
against traffickers.

I. TRAINING FOR GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS TO IDENTIFY AND PROTECT
VICTIMS: The government, through IACAT and with funding from USAID
and other donors, conducted regular training seminars for government
officials, including those from DSWD, PNP, DOJ, DFA, DOLE,
Commission on Human Rights, and various NGOs, on gender- sensitive
and child-friendly handling of trafficking cases.

The BI also conducted periodic training on basic immigration laws
and procedures for immigration officers and agents in the field and
other personnel involved in operations. Training on
anti-trafficking in persons was in the Pre-Departure Orientation
Seminar (PDOS) for consular staff, as well as Foreign Service
officers and attaches, en route to foreign missions. ILO and the
Department of Foreign Affairs Foreign Service Institute developed an
anti-trafficking in persons training module. The training module
(in CD format) will benefit DFA Foreign Service officers who were
unable to undergo anti-trafficking training through PDOS.

J. GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE FOR REPATRIATED TRAFFICKING VICTIMS: DFA,
OWWA, and DSWD assisted repatriated Filipino workers who were

MANILA 00000539 012.2 OF 016


victims of trafficking. The OWWA's Halfway Home program provided
temporary shelter, transport services, financial assistance, and
counseling services through a network of NGOs. The DSWD, working
with DOLE and DOH, provided protective custody, recovery, and
healing services for victims. Services included organization of
support groups, psychological and psychiatric interventions,
medical, legal and livelihood services, provision of limited
financial assistance, and educational assistance.

K. GOVERNMENT COOPERATION WITH NGOS: The vibrant local and
international NGO community in the Philippines included many
organizations that work directly with trafficking victims. The most
active contributors included:

-- Coalition Against Trafficking in Women - Asia Pacific
(CATW-AP) is an international network of feminist groups,
organizations, and individuals fighting the sexual exploitation of
women. The coalition brings attention to trafficking in women and
girls, prostitution, pornography, sex tourism, and bride selling,
mainly through media campaigns and policy advocacy. It provides
preventive education program on migration and trafficking at the
community and grassroots level and conducts dialogues with
government agencies such as the POEA, DOLE, and DSWD on preventive
and curative measures. Services include referring trafficking cases
to member and partner organizations for legal, counseling and
support services, and documentation of trafficking cases based on
the Human Rights Information and Documentation System used by a
global network of organizations concerned with human rights issues;


-- VFF focuses on the promotion of child welfare, especially migrant
working children, and is active on the issue of domestic trafficking
of women and children. It provides 24-hour services for victims,
including the operation of several temporary shelters, counseling,
employment referrals, training, and advocacy. Staff positioned at
port arrival areas identify and intercept probable victims of
trafficking as they disembark ships. Through funding assistance
from The Asia Foundation and the USG, VFF spearheaded the creation
of MSNAT, a national network committed to provide immediate and
appropriate response mechanisms to prevent trafficking, investigate
and prosecute offenders, and protect, rescue, recover, and
reintegrate victims, especially women and children;

-- TUCP is the largest trade union network in the Philippines. The
TUCP forges coalitions with various labor groups in its efforts to
promote and protect the rights and welfare of workers and other
disadvantaged groups, including women, youth and children, and
migrant workers. TUCP's Women's Bureau is particularly active in
anti-trafficking initiatives, such as public information and media
campaigns, database collection and documentation, provision of legal
assistance to victims, and networking. With funding support from
the American Center for International Labor Solidarity and the USG,
TUCP conducted an anti-trafficking project establishing a coalition
of private sector organizations that will coordinate with the
government to ensure the implementation of activities on trafficking
in persons;

-- The American Center for International Labor Solidarity (ACILS),
active in the Philippines since 1969, has an extensive network with
the government, NGOs, trade unions, academia, and the business
community. ACILS addresses labor issues, including irregular
migration and trafficking in persons. In 2003, ACILS established a
multi-sectoral Technical Working Group (TWG) to assist trafficking
victims, monitor trafficking developments, process inquiries and
complaints, and initiate filing of trafficking cases. TWG is
composed of 37 organizations including 18 national government
agencies, and 19 trade unions, NGOs, and advocacy groups;

-- Development Action for Women Network (DAWN) addresses the
concerns of Filipino women migrants in Japan as well as the growing
number of Japanese-Filipino children (JFCs). Almost 90 percent of
Filipino OFWs in Japan are female entertainers, making them
vulnerable to trafficking and sexual exploitation. In coordination
with its DAWN-Japan volunteers, the local branch assists JFCs
abandoned by their Japanese fathers;

-- Women's Legal Bureau (WLB) is a feminist legal NGO composed of

MANILA 00000539 013.3 OF 016


lawyers, academics, and members of other professions. It provides
legal services to victims and survivors of violence against women
and conducts education and information campaigns to raise public
awareness on women's issues. Other programs include representation
of women in judicial proceedings, training of law enforcers and
members of the legal profession on gender sensitivity, empowering
communities to respond to feminist issues, especially those
involving violence against women, and working with women's groups
toward promoting human rights;

-- Third World Movement Against the Exploitation of Women (TWMAEW)
addresses the needs of children and women in prostitution and other
victims of sexual exploitation through shelters and support centers.
It offers skills training, livelihood assistance, and psycho-social
intervention. In collaboration with UNICEF and DepEd, it conducted
awareness-raising campaigns on sexual abuse for 13,291 elementary
school pupils. Social workers, educators, and survivors of sexual
abuse facilitated the workshops;

-- Kanlungan Center Foundation (KCF) works with OFWs and their
families in addressing the problems of migrant workers. It provides
legal and welfare assistance, psycho-social counseling, temporary
shelter, and education and training. Courses include Basic
Migrants, Orientation, Migrant Rights, Legal Remedies, and Gender
Awareness and Sensitivity. Kanlungan also intervenes at the
grassroots level and addresses the psycho-social and economic causes
and effects of migration by forging partnerships with other
organizations at the community level;

-- End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and the Trafficking of
Children for Sexual Purposes (ECPAT) campaigns to raise general
public awareness in tourism, the travel industry, and high-risk
communities on the issue of children victims of sexual abuse and
commercial sexual exploitation. ECPAT is a member of the Special
Committee for the Protection of Children under the DOJ and works
with local government units in major provinces and cities, other
NGOs, and church-based organizations.

----------
PREVENTION
----------

6. (SBU) The answers below are keyed to the format contained in ref
A, para 30:

A. GOVERNMENT ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF TRAFFICKING PROBLEM: The government
considered trafficking a serious problem facing the country and
actively took steps to combat trafficking. President Arroyo and her
administration frequently spoke out in public about the evils of
trafficking and the efforts of the government to combat TIP. They
made clear the government has zero tolerance for TIP in any form.
Senior officials also stressed that the government would not condone
official complicity in such trafficking.

B. ANTI-TRAFFICKING PUBLIC AWARENESS CAMPAIGNS: Government agencies
increased the frequency of their TIP information and education
campaigns, mostly thanks to funding by bilateral international donor
agencies.

-- In 2007, IACAT, with support from USAID, conducted "road show"
campaigns against human trafficking in three provinces in Luzon
(Batangas, Cagayan, and Quezon), each identified by the national
steering committee as strategic points for intervention. The road
shows aimed to raise the level of awareness in the community,
especially for potential victims of trafficking and their families.
The awareness and advocacy campaigns reached more than 6,000
citizens, not counting radio listeners and television viewers;

-- The government, through IACAT, broadcast anti-TIP infomercials
that aired on local TV networks in three provinces where road shows
were held. The infomercial provided basic information about TIP as
well as information on how to report incidents to proper
authorities;

-- In November and December 2007, the government held three
Sub-National Conferences on Anti-Trafficking in Persons in Davao
City, Cebu City, and Manila. The conferences brought together

MANILA 00000539 014.2 OF 016


government organizations, NGOs, and civil society groups to assess
ongoing government and non-government initiatives to combat
trafficking; make recommendations for further advancements; and
share relevant experiences, best practices, and success stories.
These conferences improved awareness of trafficking issues in the
provinces, as well as forged relationships between national-level
and local partners;

-- POEA conducted nearly 1,000 pre-employment orientation seminars
for more than 60,000 departing overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in
2007. These seminars sought to educate the OFWs on the risks and
rewards of overseas employment. The seminar module included a video
presentation on trafficking in persons;

-- NCRFW, in partnership with End Child Prostitution and Trafficking
(ECPAT), the Coalition Against Trafficking of Women Asia Pacific
(CATW-AP), and other NGOs, conducted community awareness and
education campaigns throughout the country in 2007;

-- From April 2007 to February 2008, the ACILS/TUCP Anti-Trafficking
Project continued its public awareness activities on TIP in 14
regions of the country. ACILS also distributed information,
education, and communication materials on migration and trafficking
issues to youth, women, civic, and faith-based groups;

C. GOVERNMENT RELATIONSHIP WITH NGOS AND CIVIL SOCIETY: The
relationship between government agencies, NGOs, and other elements
of civil society concerned with trafficking issues was excellent.
NGOs assisted the government in preventing trafficking activities,
protecting and reintegrating trafficking victims, and prosecuting
traffickers. NGOs often referred trafficking victims to government
agencies, as the NGOs lacked the necessary funding fully to help
victims and their families. Government agencies recognized the
importance of engaging NGOs in their advocacy programs. Several
government agencies had NGO desks that oversaw government-NGO
coordination. Additionally, three NGOs focused on women, children,
and OFWs were part of the IACAT.

Two examples of strong NGO-government relationships were the
experiences of the Visayan Forum Foundation and the International
Justice Mission. The VFF coordinated closely with local law
enforcement, port authorities, and private shipping companies in
rescuing trafficking victims at Manila's North Harbor Port and other
ports throughout the country. Since 2001, IJM, a U.S.-based NGO
employing private Philippine investigators and prosecutors, closely
coordinated with government agencies to increase the number of pro
bono prosecutions in the country under the 2003 anti-trafficking
law. IJM investigated and gathered evidence against establishments
that employed trafficked women and children, and shared this
information with law enforcement. In close coordination with
government prosecutors, IJM's attorneys then filed criminal cases on
behalf of the exploited victims.

D. IMMIGRATION AND EMIGRATION PATTERNS: Approximately five million
passengers transited Manila's North Harbor in 2007, the country's
largest port; as many as half were in search of employment
opportunities. Despite efforts to guard major port areas, the
government did not have sufficient resources adequately to monitor
its borders. With more than 7,000 islands, fully monitoring
maritime borders was virtually impossible given the limited
resources of the maritime services.

The Philippine Coast Guard, under the Department of Transportation
and Communication (DOTC), intercepted some ferries in order to
identify trafficked victims and illegal recruiters in coordination
with private shipping companies. The Maritime Police conducted
investigations upon the disembarkation of passengers. It referred
victims of trafficking to government agencies or local NGOs for
further assistance.

Owners, managers, and key personnel of shipping companies conducted
regular orientation and awareness seminars with their crews to
educate them on ways to identify and report suspected trafficking
victims onboard. Often, shipping companies assisted in facilitating
the repatriation of minors by offering discounted fares.

In February 2007, IACAT established its first anti-trafficking task

MANILA 00000539 015.2 OF 016


FORCE AT MANILA'S INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT. THE NINOY AQUINO
INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT TASK FORCE AGAINST TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS
INCLUDED REPRESENTATIVES FROM THE MANILA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
AUTHORITY, THE AIRPORT POLICE DEPARTMENT, BI, NBI, PNP, PASAY CITY
PROSECUTOR'S OFFICE, POEA, BUREAU OF CUSTOMS, DFA, CFO, DSWD, AND
THE AIRLINE OPERATORS COUNCIL. THE TASK FORCE WILL IMPROVE
INFORMATION-SHARING ACROSS AGENCIES IN ORDER TO IMPROVE THE
INTERCEPTION, INVESTIGATION, AND PROSECUTION OF TRAFFICKERS, AS WELL
AS TO COORDINATE IMMEDIATE ASSISTANCE TO TRAFFICKING VICTIMS. IACAT
PLANS TO ESTABLISH SIMILAR TASK FORCES AT THE AIRPORTS IN CEBU,
DAVAO, AND ZAMBOANGA.

E. COORDINATION AND COMMUNICATION BETWEEN GOVERNMENT AGENCIES: THE
IACAT COORDINATED, MONITORED, AND OVERSAW THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE
ANTI-TIP LAW, AND SERVED AS AN UMBRELLA ORGANIZATION TO COORDINATE
ANTI-TIP EFFORTS IN THE PHILIPPINES. THE DOJ SECRETARY AND THE DWSD
SECRETARY CO-CHAIRED THE IACAT. OTHER MEMBER AGENCIES INCLUDED DFA,

SIPDIS
DOLE, POEA, NCRFW, NBI, BI, AND THE PNP. THREE NGOS REPRESENTING
WOMEN, CHILDREN, AND OVERSEAS FILIPINO WORKERS WERE ALSO PART OF THE
IACAT.

IN ADDITION TO THE NATIONAL-LEVEL IACAT, THE GOVERNMENT CREATED
LOCAL AND REGIONAL INTER-AGENCY COUNCILS AGAINST TIP. THE LOCAL
IACATS SIMILARLY INCLUDED VARIOUS GOVERNMENT AGENCIES, LOCAL
GOVERNMENT UNITS, AND NGOS. ALONGSIDE THE LOCAL IACATS, LOCAL TASK
FORCES IN SOME HOT SPOT AREAS COORDINATED LAW ENFORCEMENT AND
PROSECUTION EFFORTS.

THE DOJ LED A NATIONAL TASK FORCE ON THE PROTECTION OF WOMEN AGAINST
ABUSE, EXPLOITATION, AND DISCRIMINATION, AS WELL AS A TASK FORCE ON
CHILD PROTECTION, TO ADDRESS CASES OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND
CHILDREN.

THE ANTI-ILLEGAL RECRUITMENT COORDINATING COUNCILS (AIRCCS) SERVED
AS A VENUE AT THE GRASSROOTS LEVEL FOR CONSULTATION AND INFORMATION
SHARING TO MAP OUT STRATEGIES IN IMPROVING THE GOVERNMENT'S
ANTI-ILLEGAL RECRUITMENT PROGRAMS.

LOCAL COUNCILS FOR THE PROTECTION OF CHILDREN EXISTED AT THE
PROVINCIAL, CITY, MUNICIPALITY, AND VILLAGE LEVELS TO ASSIST IN
IDENTIFYING CONDITIONS RELATED TO CHILD ABUSE, NEGLECT, AND
EXPLOITATION, AND TO FACILITATE IMMEDIATE RESPONSES TO REPORTED
CASES OF CHILD ABUSE AND EXPLOITATION.

BOTH THE OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN AND THE PRESIDENTIAL ANTI-GRAFT
COMMISSION PURSUED OFFICIAL CORRUPTION CASES AND COORDINATED THE
GOVERNMENT'S ANTI-CORRUPTION EFFORTS.

F. NATIONAL PLAN OF ACTION TO ADDRESS TRAFFICKING: THE GOVERNMENT
MAINTAINED ITS NATIONAL ACTION PLAN TO ADDRESS TIP, CREATED WITH NGO
INPUT. IACAT LEAD THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PLAN INVOLVING DOJ,
DSWD, DOLE, AND OTHER GOVERNMENT AGENCIES. ALL AGENCIES INVOLVED IN
IACAT SHARED RESPONSIBILITIES FOR DEVELOPING AND IMPLEMENTING
ANTI-TRAFFICKING PROGRAMS. AS CO-CHAIR OF IACAT, DOJ ENSURED THE
PROTECTION OF PERSONS ACCUSED OF TRAFFICKING, PROVIDED ACCESS TO
FREE GOVERNMENT OR NGO LEGAL ASSISTANCE, AND TRAINED PROSECUTORS IN
HANDLING TRAFFICKING-RELATED CASES. DSWD TOOK THE LEAD IN
IMPLEMENTING REHABILITATIVE AND PROTECTIVE PROGRAMS FOR TRAFFICKED
PERSONS AND PROVIDING VICTIMS WITH COUNSELING AND TEMPORARY SHELTER.
IT ALSO DEVELOPED A SYSTEM FOR ACCREDITATION AMONG NGOS IN ORDER TO
ESTABLISH CENTERS AND PROGRAMS FOR INTERVENTION AT THE COMMUNITY
LEVEL.

G. GOVERNMENT EFFORTS TO REDUCE DEMAND FOR COMMERCIAL SEX ACTS: THE
GOVERNMENT, GIVEN ITS LIMITED RESOURCES, DID NOT HAVE SPECIFIC
PROGRAMS AIMED AT REDUCING THE DEMAND FOR COMMERCIAL SEX ACTS.
HOWEVER, SEVERAL NGOS, INCLUDING THE COALITION AGAINST TRAFFICKING
IN WOMEN, SPONSORED DEMAND REDUCTION PROGRAMS TARGETING TEENAGE
MALES IN SOME COMMUNITIES.

H. GOVERNMENT EFFORTS TO REDUCE PARTICIPATION IN INTERNATIONAL CHILD
SEX TOURISM BY NATIONALS: THIS QUESTION IS NOT REQUIRED FOR THE
PHILIPPINES PER REF A.

I. INTERNATIONAL PEACEKEEPING TROOPS: THE PHILIPPINES DEPLOYED A
TOTAL OF 725 MILITARY AND POLICE PERSONNEL IN NINE UNITED NATIONS
PEACEKEEPING MISSIONS. BEFORE DEPLOYING TROOPS TO PEACEKEEPING

MANILA 00000539 016 OF 016


operations, the Department of National Defense and the PNP conducted
seminars and training for peacekeepers, including a training module
on trafficking in persons. The DFA also provide pre-departure
orientation seminars to Foreign Service officers and other
government personnel, including military and police, before being
assigned abroad.

--------------------------------------------- ------
2008 Anti-Trafficking Hero - Cecilia Flores-Oebanda
--------------------------------------------- ------

7. Mission's nomination for Anti-Trafficking Hero for the 2008
Report:

Cecilia Flores-Oebanda, a longtime advocate against trafficking,
continues to pave the road for NGO and government collaboration on
anti-trafficking efforts in the Philippines. Her unwavering
commitment to protect victims of abuse and exploitation inspires
government and NGO leaders not only in the Philippines but around
the world. As the President and Executive Director of the Visayan
Forum Foundation, Ms. Flores-Oebanda is the epitome of an
anti-trafficking "hero," recognized through her work for the welfare
of marginalized migrants, especially those working as domestic
workers and trafficked women and children. She has spent most of
her life working with the urban poor, peasants, sugar plantation
workers, women, youth, and children. Because of her activism, she
became a political prisoner for four years under the Marcos regime.
She was released from detention as a result of the 1986 People Power
Revolution and immediately began work on the blueprint for the
Visayan Forum Foundation.

In 1991, she founded the Visayan Forum to strengthen the rights of
migrant women and children from poor areas of the Visayas and
Mindanao who were trafficked to urban communities as child laborers
or for commercial sexual exploitation. Seventeen years later, the
Visayan Forum has six regional offices and seven project areas at
strategic locations around the highways and ports of the Philippines
and is at the forefront of providing services to trafficked victims
and exploited domestic workers. It manages five halfway houses and
four domestic centers, which have rescued and provided assistance to
more than 19,000 victims and potential victims of trafficking. Ms.
Flores-Oebanda is the recipient of Anti-Slavery International's
Anti-Slavery Award in 2005 and a Department of State International
Visitor grantee in 2001. While Visayan Forum's operations were
recognized as a best practice in the 2005 Trafficking in Persons
Report, Post would strongly encourage G/TIP to consider naming Ms.
Flores-Oebanda as one of its 2008 Anti-Trafficking Heroes.

KENNEY

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