Justice and the Law and Order Approach to Trafficking in Persons: Philippine Case Studies
September 21 | 11:30 AM-12:30 PM | Room 2584
Predominantly tackled from a criminal justice perspective, the US State Department’s Annual Anti-Trafficking in Persons Report highlights the number of prosecutions and convictions. But, what has been achieved by this focus on convictions? When the dust settles after law enforcement raid and rescue operations, what happens to the victims? The reality is that, with limited government resources, in countries like the Philippines, support services and care are only given to victims who cooperate in investigation and prosecution, in spite of state policies that mandate otherwise. Even for those victims who cooperate, the questions persist: are services provided for their full recovery and reintegration, or are these services provided only in aid of investigation and prosecution? Are they given services to prevent re-victimization? Or are they just “rescued,” counted, and documented, only to be “rescued” again and again? Such a cycle of raid, rescue, documentation, and re-trafficking would increase the number of investigations a country could conduct, and maybe even their prosecution numbers. Certainly, it would help on the road to Tier 1. With this emphasis on criminal justice, where is the voice of the victim? What is the meaning of ‘justice’ to victims of trafficking in persons? To answer these questions, this presentation will analyze selected case studies in the Philippines.
· Develop and promote an effective victim-centered approach to trafficking in persons
· Present case studies from the Philippines