30 October 2001


Joint UN-Philippines Initiative Leads to Strong Coalition of Government Agencies
In the Fight Against Trafficking in Human Beings


VIENNA, 30 October (UN Information Service) - On 24 October, 14 Ministries and Government agencies of the Philippines signed a Covenant to implement the Philippines Strategic Action Plan for a National Coalition against Trafficking in Human Beings. The Action Plan is the result of the work of an alliance of government departments and agencies, the Inter-Agency Executive Committee, led by the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of the Interior and Local Government to strengthen national action in the international fight against trafficking in human beings. The Committee was set up by the Philippines Government in cooperation with the United Nations Centre for International Crime Prevention (CICP).

Top Government officials, including the Vice President and Foreign Affairs Minister, the Ministers of the Department of Interior and Local Government, Justice, Social Welfare and Development, and Labor, as well as top officials of various law enforcement units and other offices, and members of the diplomatic corps attended the signing ceremony.

Main features of the National Action Plan include:

  • Early ratification of the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the Protocol against Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children;
  • New legislation: a special bill against trafficking in human beings and preparation of a compilation of relevant existing legislation;
  • Strengthened investigation and prosecution of trafficking cases through setting up specialized databases, strengthening of law enforcement units and improved police-prosecutor cooperation;
  • Training for law enforcers, prosecutors, social workers and frontline officers as well as staff of embassies and consulates;
  • Support for victims and the protection of witnesses in cases of trafficking in human beings;
  • A comprehensive public awareness campaign on the subject;
  • Continued inter-agency coordination;
  • Strengthened international cooperation, including forging bilateral and multilateral agreements; and
  • Intensified cooperation with the United Nations, including the Centre for International Crime Prevention, as well as other UN entities and Intergovernmental Organizations active in the fight against trafficking in human beings.

Last year, the Philippines Government entered into an agreement with the United Nations Centre for International Crime Prevention, Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention (CICP/ODCCP), to implement a pilot demonstration project on "Coalitions Against Trafficking in Human Beings in the Philippines" under CICP’s Global Programme against Trafficking in Human Beings. The focus of the pilot project is on gathering information on the involvement of organized criminal groups in transnational criminal activities related to trafficking in human beings, strengthening crime prevention strategies of law enforcement and criminal justice responses, and providing protection and assistance to victims and witnesses. As part of the pilot project, the ‘Inter-Agency Executive Committee’ was established, composed of representatives from all concerned offices. The formulation of a national anti-trafficking strategy was a major achievement of the work of the Committee.

In implementing the Global Programme, ODCCP/CICP fosters international cooperation and strengthens national capacity building for combating trafficking in human beings, especially women and children. Priority is given to collecting information on global trends and proven practices, an activity carried out in cooperation with the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI). Technical assistance modules will include establishing or strengthening specialized police units against human trafficking as well as inter-agency cooperation between law enforcement, prosecutors and civil society actors in order to improve victim-witness assistance and protection, taking stock of the best practices adopted by countries in each particular region to combat the problem, and to carry out demonstration projects.

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