Aquino signs expanded anti-human trafficking law
MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno Aquino III has signed a bill expanding the Philippines' existing law against human trafficking.
Signed on Wednesday, February 6, Republic Act No. 10364 or the "Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012" amends the list of acts considered as promoting human trafficking to include:
- destroying or tampering with evidence
- influencing witnesses in an investigation
- using public office to impede an investigation or execute lawful orders
RA 10364 also increases funding for government agencies involved in the fight against human trafficking.
Human trafficking persists in the country despite continued efforts to curb it.
The Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report prepared by the US State Department lists the Philippines under Tier 2 of the 3-tier watchlist.
Tier 2 countries are defined as "countries whose governments do not fully comply with the TVPA’s (Trafficking Victims Protection Act) minimum standards, but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards."
Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda on Wednesday, February 13, said the government hopes the new law would boost the Philippines' standing in the watchlist.
"We would like to improve our standing in the watchlist and we hope that, with this expanded coverage of anti-trafficking, we will be able to remove ourselves from the watchlist," Lacierda said.
Below is a copy of the law: