Press Release
September 20, 2012

Legarda Hails Senate Approval of Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Bill

Senator Loren Legarda today hailed the Senate's approval on Second Reading of the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Bill, which will provide substantive amendments to Republic Act 9208 or the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act.

"Every year at least 2,000 Filipinos trafficking victims are rescued by non-government organizations. It is about time that we save Filipinos from slavery, forced labor and exploitation. The amendments to the existing Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act will aid in harmonizing our policies, building capacities of agencies, and strengthening enforcement and prosecution of human traffickers," said Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

Legarda, sponsor of Senate Bill No. 2625 or the proposed Expanded Anti-Trafficking Act of 2012, explained that the proposed measure fills voids in the existing law by expanding the enumeration of acts that promote trafficking, to include an act to destroy or tamper with evidence, to influence witnesses in an investigation, or to utilize one's public office to impede an investigation or the execution of lawful orders.

"Among its salient features are removing the privilege of confidentiality now being enjoyed by the accused in a trafficking case, extending the protection to trafficked victims in various stages of the investigation and prosecution process, and punishing acts that constitute attempted trafficking," Legarda detailed. "Through the expanded law, we now have a more effective legal framework in order to achieve greater degree of success in our fight against trafficking in persons. As perpetrators become more innovative in their actions, so should government be more deliberate in its efforts to strengthen policies, improve on enforcement, and enhance inter-agency coordination, both at the local and international level," Legarda concluded.

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