U.S. and Philippines Partner to Train Prosecutors and Investigators on Countering Trafficking in Persons at Airports

Participants, instructors, and U.S. Embassy officials celebrate the completion of the training.

Angeles City, December 14, 2018 — The U.S. Embassy in the Philippines, through the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance, and Training (OPDAT), partnered with the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) and the Philippine Society of Criminologists and Criminal Justice Professionals (PSCCJP) to train 21 NAIA and Clark-based airport investigators and 20 Pampanga-based prosecutors in investigating and prosecuting trafficking in persons (TIP) cases.  The training, conducted in Angeles City in late November, focused on improving airport-based investigations, working with rescued TIP victims in airports, and effectively examining victim witnesses in court.

During the training, Assistant U.S. Attorney Carmen Corbin, a federal prosecutor from the U.S. District of Arizona shared international best practices on investigating TIP and proving the crime in court.  PSCCJP chairperson Dr. Winston Casio discussed trends in Philippine TIP cases, and Manila Anti-Trafficking Task Force founding member Assistant City Prosecutor Rey Inciong presented on relevant Philippine law and IACAT best practices for investigating TIP.  Other instructors touched on risk assessment, working with victims, and investigation procedures at airports.

Part of an ongoing series, the training aimed to help investigators and prosecutors effectively counter traffickers’ evolving practices.  Department of Justice Assistant Secretary George Ortha II explained, “As we intensify our fight against human trafficking, these inhumane traffickers innovate to evade apprehension.  But, we are more innovative than them.  We have partners like OPDAT who equip us with the necessary skills to outwit these perpetrators.”

The U.S. Embassy, through OPDAT, is working with Philippine partners to enhance justice sector capabilities with trainings for judges, prosecutors, law enforcement officials, and other government agencies on combatting various transnational crimes.  OPDAT also helped develop instructional videos and a new cybercrime course for criminology schools nationwide.  In January 2019, OPDAT and the Philippine Judicial Academy will train judges on money laundering and other financial crimes, and in February OPDAT and the Supreme Court will continue their the series of judicial trainings on new cyber warrant rules.