PHILIPPINES GOVERNMENT LAUNCHES A NATIONAL ACTION PLAN AGAINST TRAFFICKING IN HUMAN BEINGS
Joint UN-Philippines Initiative Leads to Strong Coalition of Government Agencies
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:
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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