In Brief: Philippines faces sanctions over trafficking inaction

Wednesday, 27 October 2010 11:21 GMT

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MANILA, 27 October 2010 ( IRIN) - The Philippines faces a possible downgrading on the US State Department's Trafficking in Persons report [ ], with trade and economic sanctions likely, activists warn. "There is a real danger this [downgrading] will happen as sufficient progress has not been made in prosecuting trafficking cases," Ma Cecilia Flores-Oebanda, president and founder of Visayan Forum Foundation (VFF), told IRIN. Its records indicate 335 trafficking cases pending resolution, while 167 cases have been dismissed or dropped due to lack of evidence or survivors withdrawing cooperation. "There have only been 23 convictions since 2003," says Jean Enriquez, executive director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women. "The government can certainly do more; we can be downgraded to Tier 3 next year given two consecutive years of being graded Tier 2 watch list." According to the US Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA), sanctions for Tier 3 countries include withholding of all non-humanitarian, non-trade-related foreign assistance. For the Philippines, this puts more than US$250 million in assistance at risk, estimates VFF. as/ds/mw © IRIN. All rights reserved. More humanitarian news and analysis: