Press Release
November 24, 2021


Mr. President, dear colleagues, it is my honor to sponsor Senate Bill No. 2449 or Committee Report No. 333. This bill expands on the provisions of Republic Act No. 9208, as amended by Republic Act No. 10364, otherwise known as the Anti Trafficking in Persons Act.

In the course of my work as Chairperson of the Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality , napakadami kong nakilalang mga taong tumatak na sa aking diwa at kaisipan - individuals whose life stories have made them difficult to forget.

Nandyan si Carina, menor de edad na biktima ng sex trafficker na binenta siya sa mga kliyenteng Chinese na empleyado ng POGO.

Nandyan si Omaima, biktima ng labor trafficking papunta sa Gitnang Silangan. Gamit ang pekeng registration of birth at kinasangkapan ang belo na simbolo ng kanyang kinagisnan na kultura para ikubli ang totoong edad, siya ay dinala para magtrabaho sa ibang bansa kung saan abuso at paghihirap ang nadatnan.

At sino ang makakalimot kay Diana, biktima ng trafficking sa Syria, at pinilit ng kanyang recruiter na ipalaglag ang anak na nasa sinapupunan? Ehemplo ng karumaldumal na karahasan na dulot ng trafficking, partikular sa mga kababaihan.

It is for them -- and for the people and stories and realities they represent -- that we sponsor this important bill today. A bill that is also a LEDAC priority measure and one of the highest urgency.

I also wish to acknowledge the other authors of this measure -- Senators Pia Cayetano, Cynthia Villar, Sherwin Gatchalian and Leila de Lima - as well as the government agencies that helped inform this bill, kasama ang DOJ, DICT, NBI, PNP, NTC, at DSWD.

Siyempre malaking pasasalamat sa mga advocates gaya ng Coalition against Trafficking of Women Asia Pacific (CATW), Child's Rights Network, Blas Ople Foundation, at iba pa, at sa private sector gaya ng Smart, Globe, Facebook, GCash, etc. As you can see, this bill is a true collaborative effort among many stakeholders.

What are the key provisions of this Committee Report?

First, it holds internet intermediaries accountable for knowingly allowing their infrastructure to be used for acts of trafficking of victims of all ages.

Second, it introduces additional aggravating circumstances, notably when the crime is committed during a crisis, a public health concern (this includes a pandemic), a disaster, a humanitarian conflict or emergency situation, or when the trafficked person is a survivor of the same;

Third, it provides additional tools for law enforcers to pursue human traffickers, particularly when the violations involve the use of internet and digital platforms. An example is providing law enforcers the capacity to access non-content data (such as subscriber information and traffic data) upon formal request to internet intermediaries. To note, content data will still require a warrant.

Fourth, it increases protections to victims of trafficking, including Filipino victims of trafficking in persons overseas.

And lastly, it increases duties of local government units in providing recovery and reintegration support to trafficked persons and their families. This is consistent with the planned devolution of anti-trafficking measures from the DSWD to local government units.

Maraming Salamat po.

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