TIP Award Year:
Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) are spread all around the world, and there are approximately 10 million of them. The Blas F. Ople Policy Center and Training Institute, founded by Susan Ople, fights for the rights of these workers. They provide direct assistance through legal help and reintegration services upon a person’s return to The Philippines. They have consistently advocated at various levels for a focus on forced labor and trafficking abroad for the purposes of forced labor. The Ople Center sits on the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) in the Philippines, which is an effective and useful tool that helps government agents, private sector actors, NGOs, and other civil society actors to coordinate to combat modern slavery. Upon an OFW’s return to The Philippines, the Ople Center provides them with skills training and attempts to provide good job placements through their many partners which include hotels, government offices, and other types of companies. Several survivors work in influential positions, including one who holds a leadership position in the housekeeping unit of a major hotel chain, and another who works for the Inter-Agency Council.
In the 2014 TIP Report, the Philippines was listed as a Tier 2 country. It is a source country, primarily, for both sex trafficking and forced labor. It is also, much less significantly, a destination and a transit country. A large migrant work force of Filipinos outside of the country presents a highly vulnerable population for trafficking of all kinds. Internal trafficking is still a significant and important problem. Sex trafficking is common in urban areas, and around tourist areas, although it also occurs in more remote regions. Armed groups in the remote areas also engage in forced labor. While prosecutions remained strong, the government needs to improve in providing services for victims.