The United States Department of State has placed the Philippines on a Tier #2 Watch List status for the fifth year running in its global Trafficking in People report.
The US accused the country of “pervasive corruption” in the government which has ultimately undermined efforts to eliminate human trafficking.
Secretay of State John Kerry released the report on Monday saying: “The government of the Philippines does not fully comply with the minimum standards for elimination of trafficking. However, it is making significant efforts to do so.”
The report rated 188 countes overall – mostly praising their effort to rid their countries of trafficking issues.
Kerry’s statement about the Philippines making “significant strides” is backed up by only 54 convictions of people caught in the act of trafficking humans for profit. In 2014 the Philippines convicted 31 people for the crime.
The report issued by the government covered the period of April, 2014 to March, 2015, and praised the Philippines for its overall efforts in delivery justice to victims and for expiditing prosecutions.
The US also praised the Philippines for its efforts in training local authorities on anti-human trafficking with a focus on disaster-stricken regions. “Officials proactively identified victims exploited within the country. However, the government did not make efforts to provide all trafficking victims access to specialised services; protection for male victims remained minimal,” the report said.
The report also noted that the country had also made significant efforts to reduce the demand for commercial sex. But it also remarked that the main reason for human trafficking was corruption within the government and their lack of addressing the overall problem.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said “We will continue to persevere until we achieve Tier One status.”
The report places each country in one of three tiers based on the extent of their government’s efforts to comply with the “minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking” as defined by the United States’ Trafficking Victims Protection Acts.