A Philippine Catholic Church official wants efforts in eradicating human trafficking in the country doubled despite an improvement in the Philippines' ranking in the U.S. State Department's Trafficking in Persons Report of 2016.
Bishop Ruperto Santos of Balanga, chairman of the Episcopal Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People, said the ranking improvement is a "welcome development" that should inspire everyone to continue to work.
"While our status has improved, we should continue and even re-double our efforts at eradicating this crime," said the prelate.
"Human trafficking is a major scourge in our society," said Bishop Santos, adding that the practice is "exploitation of the highest degree because it destroys lives, especially of children and women to whom we should accord protection, caring, and security."
The U.S. report released last week shows that the Philippines has been upgraded to Tier 1 from Tier 2 in the three-tier system.
The upgrade means that the Philippine government has acknowledged the existence of human trafficking in the country, made efforts to address the problem, and complied with the minimum standards for the elimination of international human trafficking.
Tier 1 countries are those whose governments fully comply with the U.S. Trafficking Victims Protection Act's minimum standards.