Justice Secretary and Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) Chairperson Emmanuel L. Caparas vowed to find a way to be involved in the country's fight against human trafficking even as a private citizen as he steps down from his office in June 30.
In his keynote message during the 2nd International Dialogue on Human Trafficking held on 31 May 2016 at the Asian Institute of Management Conference Center in Makati City, the Secretary acknowledged that the issue of human trafficking "is an issue that has been with us for a long time. It is an issue that has not affected only one of a few countries. This is an issue that affects the global community."
He reported that the Philippines has shown its dedication to fight human trafficking in the past six years as manifested in increased prosecutions and convictions of persons involved in said crimes.
Calling it his "swan song", Caparas said he intends to study materials about the subject and the measures taken by the different government agencies and other organizations to address the issue "that can already lead me to what I really want to do after that."
The Dialogue was attended by more than 120 delegates from different embassies in the Philippines, non-government organizations (NGOs) and government agencies. It aimed to renew the commitments made by the signatories to the "Manila Declaration to Enhance International Cooperation in Combating Human Trafficking" and welcome new partners for the enhanced international cooperation of anti-trafficking efforts.
The event coincided with the release of The Walk Free Foundation's 2016 Global Slavery Index which cited the Philippines as among the "countries which have a relatively strong response [against modern slavery]."
In its report, The Walk Free Foundation said "the Philippine Government continues to be a regional leader in victim support and protection, particularly for OFWs [Overseas Filipino Workers]. In the Philippines, the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) is devoted to coordinating all relevant government agencies to combat modern slavery crimes."