Justice Secretary Leila De Lima today renewed warnings to human trafficking syndicates that the government "is determined more than ever to eliminate these elements who are preying on our children, women and overseas bound workers".
Secretary De Lima aired the renewed warning at the First International Dialogue on Human Trafficking attended by more than a hundred delegates from the diplomatic community and national prosecution and law enforcement agencies, nongovernmental organizations and private sector partners.
The event was organized by the Philippine Interagency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) in partnership with the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
According to Secretary De Lima, "the government has doubled both its resources and manpower" as she vowed that the Philippines "is set to surpass its achievements in the war against human trafficking".
Secretary De Lima lauded the conference delegates "for refusing to look away and instead identifying more decisive steps to combat this global menace".
She warned that "when those who can do something to stop human trafficking look away, the dreams of the victims of this crime die". She noted that Filipinos who fall prey to human trafficking syndicates are vulnerable because they are willing to pursue their dreams at whatever cost.
She also thanked the conference delegates for adopting the Manila Declaration which recognized "the urgent need for a comprehensive international approach to prevent and combat human trafficking".
Secretary De Lima also lauded the IACAT for "sustaining the gains which the Philippines has already won in the war against human trafficking".
She recalled that the Philippines has been rated as Number One in Asia in the Global Slavery Index among countries "making comparatively strong efforts with limited resources" based on their national economic capacity.
The same index ranked the Philippine government's efforts at Number 3 among Asia-Pacific countries and Number 29 globally out of 167 countries rated.
The Index specifically cited the response of the Philippines' criminal justice system among the programs it has launched to combat the menace.
The Global Slavery Index was released by Walk Free Foundation, an Australia-based human rights organization.