Low rate of conviction for human trafficking cases

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/19 April) – Thirty-four cases of trafficking in persons have been filed in the regional trial courts in Region XI since 2003, but only three of these cases have resulted in convictions, a Department of Justice official said.

Most of the cases filed in court were dismissed due to insufficient evidence and lack of witnesses, Regional State Prosecutor Antonio B. Arellano said.

“We cannot force the victims to testify,” he said, adding economic difficulties are the main reason behind the problem.

At present, there are eight active cases of trafficking in persons in the regional trial courts, he said.

Arellano, who also heads the Regional Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (RIACTION XI), said the decision on these cases might be known within a year.

The council was launched in January this year in a bid to coordinate government efforts against human trafficking in particular securing prosecution and conviction.

“Sa una walay klaro dili coordinated ang program para sa ane nga kaso, maong lisud ang pagconvict aneng mga traffickers (In the past the program for this type of cases wasn’t so coordinate so it was hard to convict the traffickers),” he said.

Arellano said they collaborated with the Department of Social Welfare and Development in providing temporary shelter and protection to the victims especially the minors. (MindaNews)