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Widespread as it is, human trafficking is a global menace that

world leaders have been wanting to stop. A significant milestone is


the United Nations Convention against Transnational Crime, adopted
yby the UN General Assembly during its Millennium Meeting in
November 2000. The convention and its two supplementing
protocols, opened for signature in December of the same year, was
described by the UNODC report as “the first serious attempt by the
international community to answer the global challenge of
transnational organized crime with a global response in the form of
international law.”
In the Philippines, as a response to the convention, Congress
passed the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003, or Republic Act
(RA) 9208.The enactment of RA 10364, otherwise known as the
Expanded Human Trafficking Act of 2013, also known as RA 9208,
has given more teeth to the Philippine campaign to eradicate the evils
of human trafficking. The expanded RA has included the mere
attempt to traffic as a punishable offense, whereas previously,
exploitative purposes must first be settled before an offender is
punished.
Trafficking in Persons, as defined under section 3(a) of RA
9208, is:
Trafficking in Persons – refers to the recruitment transporatation,
transfer or harboring, or receipt of persons with or without the victim’s
consent or knowledge, within or across national borders by means of
threat or use of force, or other forms of coercion, abduction, fraud,
deception, abuse of power or of position, taking advantage of the
vulnerability of the person, or, the giving or receiving of payments or
benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another
person for the purpose of exploitation which includes at a minimum, the
exploitation or the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual
exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery, servitude or the removal or
sale of organs.

In People v. Casio, as cited in People v. Hirang, the Court


defined the elements of trafficking in persons, as derived from the
aforequoted section, to wit:
(1) The act of "recruitment, transportation, transfer or harbouring, or
receipt of persons with or without the victim's consent or knowledge, within
or across national borders";
(2) The means used which include "threat or use of force, or other
forms of coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power or of
position, taking advantage of the vulnerability of the person, or, the giving
or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person
having control over another"; and
(3) The purpose of trafficking is exploitation which includes
"exploitation or the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual
exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery, servitude or the removal or
sale of organs."

Under RA 10364, the elements of trafficking in persons have


been expanded to include the following acts:
The act of x x x obtaining, hiring, providing, offering, x x x
maintaining, x x x

According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, at


least one element of these groups is required before the definition
applies.
It should be noted under the definition of trafficking in persons
that it shall still apply even if the said act/s is consensual. Also, sexual
exploitation need not be consummated. The Court mentioned in
People v. Casio that:
The victim’s consent is rendered meaningless due to the coercive,
abusive, or deceptive means employed by perpetrators of human
trafficking.71 Even without the use of coercive, abusive, or deceptive
means, a minor’s consent is not given out of his or her own free will.
xxxxx
[T]he act of “sexual intercourse” need not have been consummated
for the mere “transaction” i.e. that ‘solicitation’ for sex and the handing
over of the “bust money” of Php.1,000.00 already consummated the said
act.

The same can be said true as in the case of People v. Lalli and
Aringoy, as the Court once again mentioned that the crime of
trafficking in persons can exist even with the victim’s consent or
knowledge and the crime of recruitment for prostitution also
constitutes trafficking.
Last December of 2013, a Regional Trial Court judge in Davao
City handed the first conviction for Attempted Qualified Trafficking in
Persons. Presiding Judge Salvador Ibarreta, Jr. of RTC Branch 8 of
Region 11 granted the plea of the accused, Frederick Apique, to a
lesser offense of Attempted Qualified Trafficking under Section 4(a)
of Republic Act 9208 as amended by Republic Act No. 10364.
Then Justice Secretary Leila M. De Lima, Chairperson of Inter-
Agency Council Against Trafficking IACAT), stated that this conviction
shows the extensiveness of the new anti-trafficking law with the
inclusion of the attempted stage in connection with the offense.
"This conviction allows the State to hunt down human traffickers
and get them off the streets, even by just proving the intention to
commit a particular and specific felony just by their overt acts," De
Lima added. Section 4-B of the new law included attempted
trafficking in persons "where there are acts to initiate the commission
of a trafficking-offense but the offender failed to or did not execute all
the elements of the crime, by accident or by reason of some cause
other than voluntary desistance, such overt acts shall be deemed as
an attempt to commit an act of trafficking in persons." This was
signed on February 06, 2013.
Despite these, however, many still fall prey to trafficking due to
poverty, lack of job opportunities, conflict in Muslim Mindanao, and
the inability of young children to continue going to school, according
to a fact sheet prepared by the Visayan Forum.
The Visayan Forum adds that as criminal organizations
continue to grow and expand, there still are problems such as the
ease of obtaining fake documents and the lack of cooperation from
neighboring countries.
According to the 2016 Trafficking in Persons report, the
Philippine government convicted 42 traffickers, including five for
online child sex trafficking and two for forced labor, from 2015 to
2016. It also convicted two immigration officers and charged 5
officials allegedly complicit in trafficking.
The report added that the police investigated 329 alleged
trafficking cases – an increase from the 282 suspected cases in 2014
and 155 in 2013. The National Bureau of Investigation, meanwhile,
conducted 40 operations which yielded 151 suspected traffickers and
the investigation of 67 sex trafficking cases and 4 for forced labor.
For forced labor, victims were usually engaged in "the fishing,
shipping, construction, education, nursing, and agricultural industries,
as well as in domestic work, janitorial service, and other hospitality-
related job" across the Middle East, Asia, and North America.
There is existing support for victims but the government should
also focus on "long-term care."
“The lack of long-term care, absence of mental health services,
and familial involvement in facilitating exploitation left many victims
vulnerable to re-trafficking,” the report said. 

Sources:

Republic Act No. 10364


http://www.lawphil.net/statutes/repacts/ra2013/ra_10364_2013.html
People v. Hirang, G.R. No. 223528, January 11, 2017
http://www.lawphil.net/judjuris/juri2017/jan2017/gr_223528_2017.html

People v. Casio, G.R. No. 211465, December 03, 2014


http://www.chanrobles.com/cralaw/2014decemberdecisions.php?id=1031

People v. Lalli and Aringoy, G.R. No. 195419


https://www.unodc.org/res/cld/case-
law/phl/2011/g_r__no__195419_html/G.R.NO._195419.PDF

First Attempted Human Trafficking Conviction Scored in Davao


https://www.doj.gov.ph/news.html?title=First%20Attempted%20Human%20Trafficking
%20Conviction%20Scored%20in%20Davao&newsid=248

Human trafficking 101


https://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/iq/115637-human-trafficking-101

Trafficking in Persons Report


https://www.state.gov/documents/organization/258876.pdf