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PHL will not tolerate sex tourism — DOJ

MANILA, Philippines (PNA) — The Philippine government will not tolerate sexual tourism as it intensifies its campaign against any and all forms of human trafficking and sexual exploitation.

The government will even act swiftly and accordingly on reports of existence of related exploitations be it by foreigners and locals alike, said Department of Justice (DOJ) Undersecretary and Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) head Jose Vicente Salazar.

Salazar said that the Aquino government has made human trafficking a top priority concern and, as such, would not tolerate the promotion of sexual tourism in the country as hinted by United States Ambassador Harry K. Thomas in a recent speaking engagement.

Thomas “estimated that maybe” 40 percent of male tourists in the country come for sex tourism.

“That is unacceptable,” Thomas said.

“While we acknowledge the existence of such problem as pointed out by Ambassador Thomas, there is a need, however, to verify the accuracy of his statistics so that an appropriate response, a calibrated one, together with Tourism authorities will be enforced,” Salazar said.

Police agencies, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the Department of Tourism (DOT) and even non-government organizations do not have an accurate statistics on sexual tourism and related cases.

Salazar also said that the government was resolved to prosecute not just Americans but all, foreigners and locals alike, involved in cybersex and human trafficking crimes.

He also said that the government was thankful for the US support in the campaign against human trafficking in the country . The government, he said, was also looking towards a more coordinated and responsive action against the menace of human trafficking, already recognized as the second biggest criminal activity in the world.

However, Salazar said that the reinvigorated and intensified effort of the government to eradicate human trafficking is bourne out of the clear recognition of its obligation to protect its citizens from exploitation.