Establishing Special Courts Catering to Human Trafficking Cases

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Establishing Special Courts Catering to Human Trafficking Cases in the Philippines. (submitted as a term paper, 2nd term,SY 12-13)

Last 2012, Ms. Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, an envoy from the United Nations visited the Philippines to observe the situation of human trafficking in the country. Ms. Ezeilo stated that “the Philippines is undoubtedly a source country for human trafficking, and the problem is not declining.” One of the solutions she proposed to address the problem were special courts catering to human trafficking cases. (Reyes, 2012.)

Human trafficking thrives in poverty & lack of education, which are the main catalysts for individuals to be ushered into trafficking. (“An introduction to Human Trafficking”, 2008.) These are some of the problems the government is facing, and the two are very interconnected because they are the cause and effects of each other. Poverty leads to lack of education, and lack of education leads to poverty. The government is doing what they can to help minimize the issue, but they admit that it would take some time. (Sisante, 2008.) Education is a way to combat trafficking, due to the fact that education leads to decent employment, and a well-informed individual would be more aware of the dangers of being trafficked, thus preventing it to happen in his/her life. However, ideal this may sound, it is not possible to solve poverty and lack of education in a snap. There has to be other solutions to consider that could be done now and would have a great impact.

The establishment of special courts tackling specifically human trafficking-oriented cases is a practical solution that would greatly expedite the process of punishing human traffickers and by extension greatly reduce the number of cases of human trafficking in the Philippines, helping alleviate its social, economic, and political consequences.

Before special courts as a solution is to be discussed any further, it is important to define what a special court is. Specialized courts are defined by the International Journal for Court Administration as “tribunals of narrowly focused jurisdiction to which all cases that fall within that jurisdiction are routed.” (Zimmer, 2009)

The following paragraphs are going to discuss the counterarguments against special courts, and would be briefly refuted before the three main arguments in favor of special courts are presented.

The opposition may claim special courts as an unnecessary expenditure and inaccessible. They claim that it is unnecessary because the creation of new courts is onerous and constitutes unnecessary expenditures, particularly if cases are seasonal, and funds could go to waste if it remains idle. (Zimmer, 2009.) The creation of a court would automatically imply expenditures. The court has to pay for the administrative costs, the physical court, and other expenses needed to assist the victims, like court psychiatrists. It would also require effort on the judiciary, and the Supreme Court, due to the fact that special courts have to be set-up with care in order for its potential in eliminating cases to be maximized. (Zimmer, 2009) However, funding is not a strong argument, because the government has money. It is the proper allocation of the funds, or budgeting that is in question. The government has established special courts for environmental cases in 2008, 117 to be exact. (Salaveirra, 2008) If the government has placed effort enough to set up courts to save the environment, shouldn’t it be a priority to set up courts to fight for human trafficking victims, who have been robbed of their rights? Human rights should always be kept in the priority list of the government. Recently, it has been reported that the government is funding the Department of Health with 500 million pesos for contraceptives for the year 2013. One of their aims was to ‘combat poverty’. (Fernandez, 2012.) This shows that the government tries to prioritize the poor, however it just shows that they...
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