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PASIG CITY, Philippines – Coinciding with the International Day Against Trafficking In Persons and the anniversary of the signing of the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking In Persons, Especially Women and Children signed in Palermo, Italy in the year 2000, the ASEAN Experts Working Group (EWG) Meeting completed last December 12, its task to draft and deliberate on the key provisions of the legally-binding and norm-setting during the 9th ASEAN Experts Working Group Meeting to draft the ASEAN Convention Against Trafficking in Persons Especially Women and Children (ACTIP) and its corresponding action-oriented document, the Regional Plan of Action Against Trafficking In Persons (RPA) in Pasig City, Philippines.


Recognising that trafficking in persons is a global scourge that constitutes a violation of human rights and tramples on the dignity of human beings, the ASEAN, with this regional treaty reaffirms its commitment to its Charter to respond effectively in accordance with the principle of comprehensive security to all forms of transnational crimes and transboundary challenges.
 
According to the SOMTC Philippines Secretariat Head and Executive Director of the Philippine Center for Transnational Crime (PCTC) PDir. (ret.) Felizardo M. Serapio Jr., it was in 2006 when the SOMTC identified trafficking in persons (TIP) as one of the eight priority areas. The Philippines was designated as the Lead Shepherd for this concern and in June 2007, the SOMTC was tasked to look into the development of an ASEAN convention against trafficking in persons and thereafter convened an ASEAN Experts Working Group Meeting to draft such treaty and its corresponding Regional Plan of Action for the convention’s operationalization.
 
After nine meetings and rigorous deliberations over a span of seven years, the EWG Meeting composed of experts in the field of law enforcement, prosecution, social welfare, international law and human rights protection from each of the ten ASEAN Member States (AMS), finally adopted the consensus texts of the provisions of the working draft initially prepared by the Philippines.
 
“This is a proud moment for the Philippines and the entire ASEAN. Completing the drafting of the ACTIP and RPA is a major milestone in our ASEAN shared history.  We accomplished a great feat with this convention,” said SOMTC Philippines’ Leader and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary Peter Irving C. Corvera.

“We all should be thankful and be proud of our Philippine experts who come from the various relevant member agencies of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking In Persons (IACAT) and the ASEAN counterparts for they all have worked extremely hard and sacrificed so much for this to finally come into fruition. I also commend their commitment to meeting the deadline set for them to finish it,” Corvera added.

“Our IACAT Chair, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima is very pleased with this news and she is confident that the Philippines is ready for this regional convention because our expanded anti-human trafficking law is no doubt aligned with the most critical provisions in this treaty,” chimed in IACAT Undersecretary-In-Charge Jose Vicente B. Salazar of the Department of Justice. ”This is a very welcome development that will help bolster our efforts to combat human trafficking,” finishes Salazar.

In a communication received last Sunday evening by the SOMTC Philippines Secretariat, the Ministry of Interior Senior Adviser and SOMTC Leader of the Kingdom of Cambodia, H.E. Sieng Lapresse expressed his wholehearted appreciation to the Philippines for leading the process and reiterated his satisfaction with the successful process by which the ACTIP and RPA drafting was accomplished. The final versions of these instruments will be presented in June 2015 during the next Senior Officials Meeting on Transnational Crime to be held in Cambodia.

“Not all ASEAN Member States are signatory to the Palermo Protocol. But the ACTIP, once ratified by each country, will legally bind all AMS and reaffirm further the ASEAN’s commitment to a stronger and more effective regional and international cooperation framework to combat human trafficking,” said PCTC Executive Director Felizardo M. Serapio Jr.

These two regional instruments will be presented to the ASEAN Leaders for their endorsement in November 2015 in time for the formal launch of the ASEAN Community which will establish a closely integrated, dynamic and vibrant regional economy, deeper political and security cooperation and stronger socio-cultural linkages in the region.


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PLEASE CONTACT :


SACP Jonathan Lledo                    PCTC Executive Director Felizardo Serapio Jr.
+639174303194                           (+632) 7242362

 

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