New law boosts fight vs human trafficking PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 14 February 2013 10:46

President Benigno S. Aquino III has signed into law Republic Act No. 10364 or the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012, amending Republic Act No. 9208.

Justice Secretary Leila M. De Lima, chair of Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT), said “the signing of the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012 will give the government a stronger weapon against human trafficking syndicates.”

Section 4-B of the new law now considers attempted trafficking in persons punishable, carries with it a penalty of imprisonment of 15 years and a fine of from P500,000 up to P1 million. “Where there are acts to initiate the commission of a trafficking-offense but the offender failed to or did not execute all the elements of the crime, by accident or by reason of some cause other than voluntary desistance, such overt acts shall be deemed as an attempt to commit an act of trafficking in persons,”the new law provides.

Also included in the new law is the liabilities of accessories and accomplices of human trafficking activities.

It defines accomplices as those who knowingly aid, abet and cooperate in the execution of the offense by previous or simultaneous acts while accessories are those who have the knowledge of the commission of the crime, and without having participated therein, either as principal or as accomplices take part of its commission subject to specific acts stated in the law.

The new law amended the confidentiality clause barring any person, at any stage of the investigation, rescue, prosecution and trial of an offense, from giving out the name and personal circumstances of the trafficked person or any other information tending to establish the identity of the trafficked person and his or her family shall not be disclosed to the public.

It removed this confidentiality privilege on the part of the human trafficker or offender.

The new law highlighted as well, the state’s exercise of jurisdiction over any acts of human trafficking even if committed outside the Philippines provided that the suspect or accused is a Filipino citizen, a permanent resident of the Philippines, or has committed human trafficking acts against the citizen of the Philippines.

“The signing of the law shows that the government, through IACAT, guarantees that it will be more determined and relentless pursuing the mandate of its office,” Justice Undersecretary Jose Vicente B. Salazar, in-charge of the day-to-day operations of IACAT, said.