Philippines: Two Human Trafficking Convictions
Tuesday, December 2, 2008 11:47 AM

In a recent press release, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs’ Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN) reported that the owner and a cashier of a bar south of Manila, Philippines, were convicted on 27 November 2008 for trafficking four girls aged 14 to 16 into prostitution as “guest relations officers” at the bar.

The Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) monitors the Philippines government implementation of The Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003 (R.A. 9208). In a co-authored press release, IACAT reported that the regional trial court found Salvacion Alamares and Gina Ajero guilty of the crime of Qualified Trafficking in Persons under R.A. 9208 and sentenced each of them to 20 years’ imprisonment and a fine of 1 million pesos, approximately US$20,000. The trial court judge also issued arrest warrants for two others who were convicted in the case, Roberto Acuin (a.k.a. “Wowie”) and Charmela Barrameda. IACAT said this is the twelfth human trafficking conviction under that law. They are monitoring 600 other cases.

The convictions are welcome news to governmental and non-governmental organizations working to end human trafficking in the Philippines. The Visayan Forum Foundation said the most common victims are girls aged 12 to 22 years old who end up in prostitution after being lured there by promises of domestic work. The United States Department of State, Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (OMCTP) will be visiting the Philippines on 8 December to see how the government has implemented the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 (PDF, 86 pages). OMCTP will use its information to rank the Philippines’ government’s efforts to combat trafficking. The 2008 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report ranks the Philippines as a Tier 2 country, meaning the government is out of compliance with the Act, but is making sufficient efforts to comply.  The last human trafficking conviction in the Philippines was in June 2008.

Please click on the following links for the full text of these documents:

IACAT and IJM’s press release

IRIN’s press release

R.A. 9208

2008 TIP report

Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 (PDF, 86 pages)

Compiled from:

Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN), PHILIPPINES: New Conviction Boosts Fight Against Human Trafficking (2 December 2008).

Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) and International Justice Mission (IJM), PRESS RELEASE: IACAT and IJM Elated Over Latest Conviction of Human Trafficker (27 November 2008).