Pursuant to its mandate to serve, protect and assist victim/witness of Trafficking in Persons (TIP) cases, the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking Operations Center (IACAT OpCen) facilitated the release of TIP victim Anna (not her real name) from the Bulacan Provicincial Jail in Malolos City, immediately after the issuance of a Release Order issued by a Lower Court in San Jose Del Monte City, Bulacan. The same was made possible with the support and assistance of IACAT Executive Director Jinky P. Dedumo, IACAT Deputy Executive Director for Operations Wendell P. Bendoval, and Australian Federal Agent Graeme Marshall.
In the meantime, Anna will proceed to undergo after-care services in a shelter for the required debriefing and other psychosocial interventions for her recovery and healing.
“We employ a victim-centered approach in all Trafficking in Persons cases. The welfare and best interest of the victim is our paramount concern. To this end, IACAT shall continue to give these services for the protection of the helpless and vulnerable TIP victims, especially women and children. IACAT shall endeavor to help victim-witnesses like Anna in every way we can,” said Undersecretary Emmeline Aglipay-Villar, IACAT Usec-in-Charge.
Anna is presently a victim-witness and private complainant in the consolidated Qualified Trafficking in Persons and Rape cases against an Australian national, pending before the Regional Trial Court of Malolos City, Bulacan. Due to the retaliatory charge of qualified theft filed against her by the said Australian national, Anna was detained for two (2) years. Despite the Court’s dismissal of the qualified theft charges last March 2020, Anna remained in detention until the evening of November 20, 2020. She is still facing another case for slight physical injuries previously filed by the live-in partner of the Australian national.
“We sympathize with Anna’s predicament in being subjected to further agony in the detention cell, a sad reality for a victim of trafficking in persons. We admire her courage and strength in being able to speak up and fight for her rights in Court against her abuser and perpetrator while being restrained by her detention. Finally, she is now free,” said IACAT Executive Director/Handling Prosecutor Dedumo.
Deputy Executive Director/Handling Prosecutor Bendoval adds, “We are fortunate that the IACAT OpCen assisted us in these Trafficking in Persons cases pending trial. Commendable services were given by IACAT Agents Archimedes David, Marielle Crisostomo, and Joemarie Tuviera as they facilitated the release of Anna on bail amidst this time of the pandemic.”