By Jeffrey Damicog
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II yesterday vowed to intensify the fight against human trafficking after the country maintained its hold among the top-tier nations combating the problem in the United States’ Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report.
“The retention of the Tier 1 status is proof of the country’s continuing commitment to ending this heinous crime,” he said in a statement.
“We acknowledge that Philippines, even in Tier 1, should do more to combat human trafficking and vows to continue its intensified efforts,” said Aguirre who is also the chairman of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT).
The secretary stressed “nobody has the right to profit from the deprivation of the freedom of others.”
“When we dehumanize others, we dehumanize ourselves,” he pointed out.
The Philippines gained Tier 1 status in 2016 after being in Tier 2 from 2011 to 2015 and in Tier 2 Watchlist prior that.
This made the country the first and the only Southeast Asian nation to have achieved not only the status but also the regional leadership position in combating trafficking in persons.
Since the country remains in Tier 1, Aguirre also lauded the efforts of AICAT which he challenged last year to maintain the status.
“That was the challenge I gave to all the stakeholders in the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) last year when we first got our Tier 1 ranking,” he recounted.
”I am very glad that everybody collectively responded to the challenge. This is a great achievement indeed in our fight against modern-day slavery,” he added.
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