US, PHL partner to train probers on countering trafficking in persons

(Left photo) Participants search a mock crime scene as part of the training. (Right photo) Participants, instructors, and U.S. Embassy officials celebrate the completion of the training.

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 21NAIA and Clark-based airportinvestigatorsand 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 effectivelyexamining victim witnesses in court.

During the training, Assistant U.S. Attorney Carmen Corbin, afederal 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 PhilippineTIP cases, andManila Anti-Trafficking Task Force founding member Assistant City Prosecutor Rey Inciong presented on relevant Philippine law and IACAT best practicesfor investigating TIP. Other instructors touched on risk assessment,working with victims,andinvestigation 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 enhancejustice 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.

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