Philippines: New human trafficking investigation procedures aim to improve conviction rates
( UNODC ) - The Philippines National Police (PNP) have adopted a comprehensive manual on how to handle trafficking in persons investigations, in an effort to improve conviction rates of traffickers.
Developed with assistance from UNODC, the Standard Operating Procedures: Trafficking in Persons Investigations is a step-by-step guide for front-line investigators and their supervisors. It outlines standardized operational planning procedures and teaches risk assessment, management of victims, and the use of special investigation tools and techniques to pursue and investigate TIP.
A key objective of the manual is to ensure a consistent police response to human trafficking and the preparation of cases that lead to the successful prosecution of offenders.
Prior to the Manual, the absence of a standard operating procedure for trafficking in persons made it difficult for officers and prosecutors to build an airtight case. This resulted in low conviction rates for trafficking in persons cases.
To address these issues, the PNP - with support from UNODC, the Philippine Centre on Transnational Crime (PCTC) and the Embassy of Japan - created a Technical Working Group to develop a manual of standard operating procedures to investigate human trafficking cases in the Philippines. The objective was to provide a consistent response to trafficking that would strengthen future investigations, allow for national-level supervision of local human trafficking-related investigations - and have a significant impact on human trafficking in the Philippines by leading to more effective and consistent investigations.
The TWG's manual of standard operating procedures was approved for use in mid-January by Philippine National Police, Chief Superintendent Mr. Francisco Don C. Montenegro.
TWG partner Philippine Centre of Transnational Crime (PCTC) is hopeful that the Manual will have a positive impact on human trafficking investigations as front-line Philippine National Police officers begin to use the standard operating procedures nation-wide.
"I am very optimistic that we can improve human trafficking investigations with these Standard Operating Procedures for Trafficking in Persons Investigations," said Mr. USEC Felizardo M. Serapio, Jr. Executive Director of the PCTC. "It is now our challenge to cascade the implementation to our front liners so they are more capable and knowledgeable."