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US lauds PH trafficking response; Database vs exploitation up

By Noel PadalhinMonitoring and Evaluation Officer

and Mark Borromeo Data Protection Officer

The Philippines had set a new record in being the first ASEAN country to have maintained a Tier 1 category ranking in the U.S. Department of State’s Trafficking-in-Persons Report 2020 for five years straight, an elite ranking in terms of trafficking response.

The country joined 34 other countries deemed as making significant progress in the eradication of modern-day slavery.

In its report, the U.S. Department of State made further recommendations to the country, including “a central database for information on illegal recruiters and human trafficking cases to facilitate interagency coordination in detecting, investigating, and prosecuting traffickers”.

Timing could not have been any better.

Database on traffickers

The Blas F. Ople Policy Center and Training Institute and the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery have developed that system and operationalized it during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This partnership included the development of a consolidated system of reporting, later to be known as the The Integrated Case Management System (ICMS), which traced its origins as early as April 2019.

Cases of exploitation

The system is a cloud-based, digital case management system that records, monitors, tracks, and flags concerned government agencies to respond to trafficking and other related cases of severe exploitation involving OFWs. The ICMS unifies responses and improves coordination among national and local government agencies to combat trafficking.

The IACAT and the Ople Center have conducted workshops since April 2019 to gather inputs from government on the desired specifications and features of the ICMS. Parts of the system had been tested and developed continuously over the course of 10 months, and has been operational since February 3, 2020.

World Day vs Trafficking After a few more months of technical adjustments, according to Justice Undersecretary and IACAT head Emmeline Aglipay-Villar, the ICMS was launched during the World Day Against Trafficking on July 28,  2020.  END

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