Gov’t vows to keep up anti-trafficking efforts; China slams US report

Posted on June 30, 2017

THE DEPARTMENT of Foreign Affairs (DFA) welcomed on Thursday the US government’s Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report as of June 2017, which placed the Philippines in Tier 1, the highest level in the rankings, for the second consecutive year, with a vow to sustain programs to address the global problem.

“We will continue working with domestic and international partners, including the United States, to remain fully compliant with anti-TIP standards,” DFA said in a press statement.

The Philippines was hailed by the TIP report for meeting “minimum standards for the elimination of (human) trafficking” and for the government’s continuous demonstration of “serious and sustained efforts.”

It acknowledged the DFA and the Department of Social Welfare and Development, as well as other government anti-trafficking entities for their joint efforts on investigation of cases, arrest of suspects, and protection of victims.

“This affirmation further strengthens our resolve to protect our people from trafficking, through institutionalizing preventive measures, protecting vulnerable groups, and bringing the traffickers and their accomplices to justice,” said the DFA.

China, on the other hand, was not pleased with the report, which placed it in the bottom rung or Tier 3, the lowest grade, alongside Iran, North Korea, Syria, and 19 others.

“The Government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so; therefore, China was downgraded to Tier 3,” the report stated.

“The government decreased law enforcement efforts. It reported crimes outside international law’s definition of human trafficking, making it difficult to assess appreciable progress from the previous reporting period,” it added.

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang said during a press conference on June 28 that China, as in the past, opposes such report.

“The US issues such kind of report every year, making irresponsible remarks on the internal affairs of other countries. The Chinese side opposes that. We are not combating crimes such as human trafficking for any other countries’ sake, we are doing so because it is an inherent part of China’s social governance and development,” Mr. Lu said.

“We also approve of cooperating with other countries on this based on mutual respect, but no country in the world has the right to make irresponsible remarks about other’s internal affairs,” he added.

Mr. Lu also defended that China has been exerting efforts to address human trafficking.

“The Chinese government firmly resolves to crack down on human trafficking and has achieved clear results,” Mr. Lu said, “Human trafficking is a problem faced by many countries and no country is immune. China is willing to strengthen cooperation with other countries on cracking down on human trafficking based on mutual trust.”

The latest TIP report is the US State Department’s 17th installment and had assessed 187 countries and territories, including the US if their governments comply with the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. -- Jil Danielle M. Caro