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Highlights of Evaluation Findings

Performance Evaluation of the Project To Combat Human Trafficking in the Philippines:  Improving the Capacity of Philippines Law Enforcement, Social Services, and Judiciary in Combating Human Trafficking in Central Luzon

This report was prepared for the United States Department of State Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. It was prepared independently by Development & Training Services, Inc.

Implemented by: Development & Training Services, Inc. (dTS) for the United States Department of State (DOS) Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons under indefinite quantity indefinite delivery (IDIQ) contract No. SAQMMA12D0083, task order No.SAQMMA13F4316.

dTS is an international development organization that leads initiatives in social and economic development with a view to equality, accountability, and sustainability. dTS has worked in 84 countries across 11 prime U.S. Government (USG) IDIQ contracts and implemented over 200 activities making dTS an experienced USG implementing partner with a proven track record in development assistance and contract administration. A Small Business Administration (SBA)-certified 8(a) minority woman-owned small business (WOSB) with over 12 years’ experience supporting projects funded by DOS, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), U.S. Trade and Development Agency (US TDA), and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), dTS provides strategic consulting; practical, results-oriented programming; and program monitoring worldwide.


The views reflected in this report do not necessarily reflect the views of the United States Government or the United States Department of State.

AAPTIP Australia-Asia Program to Combat Trafficking in Persons
CIDG-ATCD Criminal Investigation and Detection Group’s Anti-Transnational Crime Division
DOJ United States Department of Justice
DOLE Department of Labor and Employment
DOS United States Department of State
DRL Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
DSWD Department of Social Welfare & Development
dTS Development and Training Services
FGD Focus Group Discussion
GOP Government of the Philippines
IACAT Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking
IDIQ Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity
IJM International Justice Mission
IOBC Investigator Officer Basic Course
IOM International Organization for Migration
J/TIP Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
KII Key Informant Interview
NBI National Bureau of Investigations
NGO Non-Governmental Organization
PAO Provincial Attorney’s Office
PHILIA Philippine Judicial Academy
PJS Public Justice System
PNP Philippines National Police
RATTG Region III Anti Trafficking Task Group
SOW Statement of Work
TESDA Technical Education and Skills Development Authority
TIC Trauma Informed Care
USAID United States Agency for International Development
USG United States Government
WCPD Women and Child Protection Desk

I. Introduction

The Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (J/TIP) contracted Development and Training Services, Inc. (dTS) to conduct a performance evaluation of the International Justice Mission (IJM) project to combat sex trafficking in Central Luzon, the Philippines.

IJM obtained almost $1.3 million, with the TIP Office providing $600,000 and an additional $692,163 coming from other donors for its three-year Central Luzon Project, which ends September 30, 2014. The project was designed to improve the capacity of the public justice system (PJS) to respond to sex trafficking in Angeles City and the nearby cities of Olongapo, Subic Town, and San Fernando. IJM uses a “collaborative casework model” that includes strategic partnerships with PJS officials and social service providers in the target area. IJM partners with the Philippines National Police (PNP), the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the Department of Justice (DOJ), especially the Regional State Prosecutor, the Philippines Judicial Academy (PHILJA), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

The IJM project is expected to result in an increase in the quantity and quality of Public Justice System (PJS)-led sex trafficking investigations, prosecutions, and convictions. Specific project objectives include: (i) increasing the capacity of law enforcement officials to effectively investigate suspected sex trafficking cases in Central Luzon; (ii) increasing the capacity of prosecutors and judicial officials to adjudicate sex trafficking cases; (iii) providing high quality care to rescued victims to ensure that they are not re-trafficked; and (iv) advocating with public justice officials to prioritize enforcement of anti-sex trafficking laws and registrations. The performance evaluation was designed to: (i) determine the extent to which the IJM project has achieved its objectives and met targets; (ii) assess the availability and quality of data; (iii) conduct a gender analysis of the project’s effects; (iv) assess contextual and programmatic factors; and (v) identify factors and conditions critical for replication of the project model.

II. Evaluation Methodology and Information Sources

This performance evaluation utilized a mixed methods approach including a desk review of project and non-project documents, key informant interviews (KIIs), focus group discussions (FGDs), interviews with survivors, and a review of criminal justice and victim services data from IJM as well as Government of Philippines (GOP) sources. Details about the data sources and the limitations on their use can be obtained from the full report.

  • Eighteen semi-structured interviews were held at the local and national level.
  • Five FGDs were held with participants of training provided by the project – one each with prosecutors, judges and social workers, and two with police, one in San Fernando and one in Angeles City.
  • Thirteen semi-structured interviews with survivors were held during the course of the field work. Interviews were kept brief and were restricted to their satisfaction with the assistance they received, their treatment by IJM, PJS actors and social service providers, and their circumstances post-trafficking.
  • Data was received from IJM for investigations and prosecutions in which IJM was directly involved. Evaluators also received criminal justice sector data from the Region III RATTG police, the Region III Head Prosecutor, and from the national IIACAT (through the U.S. Embassy).
  • Data was received from IJM for victims rescued or assisted in operations in which IJM was directly involved. Evaluators also received victim assistance data from Region III DSWD.

III.  Highlights of Evaluation Findings

A. Evaluation Question 1: Did the project achieve the objectives specified in the grant agreement? What factors facilitated and/or inhibited the achievement of its objectives.

1. Reduction in the Prevalence of Minors

The overall goal of the project is to achieve a 40% reduction in the prevalence of minors available for commercial sexual exploitation. Assessing achievement of this goal is beyond the scope of the evaluation. IJM conducted a baseline survey of the availability of minors for prostitution in the target geographic area before the project began and plans to do so again at its conclusion in order to measure this outcome.

The evaluators asked informants their observations regarding changes in the availability of minors for prostitution. Some believed that establishments in the target area are less likely to employ underage girls because of the police actions taken so far. Others believed that prostitution of minors was pushed to informal establishments or on the streets. IJM points out that if the result of the project has been to push the prostitution of minors underground it means that the work has been effective, disrupting the business model of the large establishments. IJM sees this as an indication that there has been a decrease in the prostitution of minors. They point out that the majority of customers are not specifically looking for minors, but for youthfulness and beauty and will not take the time and effort to go in search of minors moved underground, thus reducing the demand for minors. IJM also notes that they try to mitigate such an outcome by regularly conducting investigations into hidden forms of sexual exploitation of minors such as street-based prostitution[1].

2. Investigations and Rescue Operations

IJM’s stated goal is “to improve the capacity of the public justice system (PJS) to respond to sex trafficking in the target area, resulting in an increase in the quantity and quality of PJS-led trafficking investigations, prosecutions and convictions”. The first objective under this goal is to: “Increase capacity of law enforcement officials to effectively investigate suspected sex trafficking cases in Central Luzon.”

Quantity of Sex Trafficking Investigations

Informants were inconsistent in their opinions as to whether there had been an increase in the number of sex trafficking investigations, with some stating that there had been[2]and others believing that there had not.[3] Quantitative data from the PNP and from IACAT regarding the number of actual investigations which have taken place is incomplete and inconsistent and does not support there having been an increase. However, arrest data from IACAT indicates a 58% increase in the number of persons arrested from 2012 to 2013. While this arrest data might support the supposition that the IJM project led to an increase in the quantity of sex trafficking investigations and operations in Region III, given the limitations of the evaluation methodologies it is not possible to attribute any such changes to IJM’s project activities.

Reaching High Enough?

Concern was expressed by national IACAT members as well as in FGDs with police that investigations have so far not yielded the people at the highest levels profiting from the exploitation of others. Operations against human trafficking have only affected the bar managers and not the owners and operators behind the scenes. This observation seemingly referred to the country as a whole as well as to Region III. These informants believe that the criminal networks involved should be the targets of investigations in order to really address the issue.[4] IJM, however, states that this has not been the situation on cases in which they were involved. That in 14 out of 15 cases, the establishment owners were arrested and charged.[5]

Changes in PJS Capacity to Investigate Sex Trafficking Cases and Identify and Assist Victims

GOP partners consider IJM investigative techniques to be very well organized and effective.[6] Elements of IJM led rescues are greatly admired – the advance planning and pre-operations meetings and handling of evidence, for example. They also appreciate IJM material and logistical support and find the training courses to be well run and useful.[7] Informants indicated that training resulted in:

  • Improved skills in the development of pre-operation case build-up
  • Enhanced skills on special investigation techniques (intelligence work and establishing the elements of the crime and not just the narration of circumstances)
  • Improved documentation and reporting to better ensure convictions
  • Improved treatment of victims resulting in statements which are more detailed and comprehensive[8]

Police and prosecutors state that the police have learned the importance of properly preserving evidence and have adopted many of IJM’s evidence collection techniques.[9] As a result of their work with IJM, police officers ability to testify in court has greatly improved.[10] Police and prosecutors believe that this has led to improved cases presented in court.

The capacity of the PJS to effectively assist victims identified in rescue operations is less clear. Social workers state that training has improved the treatment of victims by law enforcement, judges and prosecutors. However, they indicate that these actors still ask insensitive questions and can be very harsh.[11] Survivors who were rescued in operations in which IJM was involved spoke highly of the police and rated the police officers treatment of them very highly.[12] As these survivors were all rescued during IJM assisted operations, this might indicate that officers involved in operations behave differently when IJM is not there or that these operations took place with groups of officers not involved with the IJM project. The fact that very few of the victims identified in rescue operations elect to receive further assistance might be an indication that the capacity to assist victims has not sufficiently improved. However, as the evaluators did not have a chance to interview survivors who declined assistance or who were identified in operations conducted by IJM partners but without IJM’s direct involvement it is not possible to effectively assess the capacity of the PJS’s ability to assist victims during operations.

These findings indicate that there has been an increase in the capacity of law enforcement and DSWD actors to investigate sex trafficking cases and identify victims. IJM’s training, in combination with their collaborative casework model, has increased the capacity of the police, in particular the RATTG unit with whom IJM most closely cooperates, to investigate sex trafficking cases in the region and, with the assistance of DSWD social workers, to identify victims of trafficking. Any change in their ability to assist victims at the time of rescue is not as clearly established.

3. Prosecutions

IJM’s stated objective is to: Increase capacity of prosecutors and judicial officials to adjudicate sex trafficking cases in accordance with the law. As noted earlier IJM’s stated goal is that this should result “in an increase in the quantity and quality of PJS-led trafficking investigations, prosecutions and convictions.”

While Region III was considered a ‘hotspot’ for trafficking and there were many human trafficking cases filed, they had had no convictions prior to the IJM project launch in Pampanga.[13] Since then, there have been four convictions – three with assistance from IJM and one without. In this case, while IJM did not prosecute they did provide training to the judge and training and technical assistance to the prosecutor as well as the key police officer testifying in the case.[14] Due to limited and inconsistent data from GOP sources, as well as the fact that most of the cases which IJM has supported have not yet been fully adjudicated so the outcomes cannot yet be known. Therefore, it is not possible to assess if the project resulted in an increase in the number of prosecutions.

Changes in Capacity of Prosecutors and Judicial Officials to Adjudicate Sex Trafficking Cases

Prosecutors and judges note a difference in the prosecution of trafficking cases that they attribute to IJM. Judges see a big difference in the way in which the prosecution presents trafficking cases – they are more enthusiastic, there is more consistent attendance of witnesses and police in court hearings to testify or corroborate evidence presented by the prosecution to strengthen the cases.[15] Prosecutors echo these sentiments, stating that they are more organized and detailed in preparation for the inquest, preliminary investigation and trial. They have improved preparation of case materials, carefully consider how to present the testimony of minors as witnesses, and anticipate defense strategies of the accused.[16] Most frequently cited was learning the importance of preparing witnesses for testimony and the importance of keeping offenders separate from victims.[17],[18]

Judges indicated that the training improved their understanding of the expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act, improved implementation of rules on child witnesses and broadened their understanding of human trafficking.[19] Social workers have noted a change in the behavior of judges. One social worker indicated that the presiding judge in one case strongly advocated for the rights of the child victims and in another case the judge interceded to protect the child witnesses from a hostile defense attorney.[20] Informants also believe that trials are now proceeding faster than in the past.[21] A few recent cases in Pampanga were completed very rapidly by Philippines standards – within one year.[22]

IJM attorneys are frequently assigned as private prosecutors to handle human trafficking cases in which IJM has been involved in the investigation and operations. While both IJM and the prosecutor’s office agree that they consult on these cases, the private prosecutor can take over and work in the absence of the public prosecutor.[23]Certain elements of preparation, such as preparing witnesses for trial, seem to take place in the absence of the public prosecutor. While IJM uses this opportunity to work as private prosecutors to document gaps and problems in the prosecutorial process, it also limits the transfer of knowledge and skills to prosecutors.

Social service providers also report significant difference in cases prosecuted by IJM and those prosecuted by the public prosecutor. The public prosecutor does not prepare survivors in advance of the hearing. When a case is handled by the public prosecutor the victim and social workers must go frequently to the court (3-5 times compared to once or twice in IJM-prosecuted cases) and the prosecutor may not show up or the hearing is cancelled.[24] Survivors testify to the fact that they feel safer when accompanied by IJM and believe that cases supported by IJM proceed faster in court.[25]

Even as prosecutors appreciate IJM’s work and support and are clearly inspired by the recent convictions, much of their appreciation for IJM stems from their taking a burden off the public prosecutors who have far too many cases to handle at any given time. They recognize IJM’s excellence at handling sex trafficking cases, but do not think they can replicate this as they do not have the time to devote to it. They point out that IJM prosecutors are involved in the cases from the investigation stage, focus only on trafficking cases and have smaller case-loads. IJM also has resources to assist in aftercare and to prepare victim-witnesses for trial. Public prosecutors on the other hand may be assigned to several courts and handle all cases being prosecuted at that court. They typically prosecute hundreds of cases simultaneously and cannot dedicate the time necessary to prepare in the same way as IJM.[26]

4. Aftercare Services

IJM’s stated objective is to: Provide high quality care to rescued victims to ensure they are not re-trafficked. While the explicit goal is not to improve the capacity of public sector social service providers, some of the activities funded through this project are designed to lead to this outcome. Additionally, the evaluation goals and questions were designed to assess changes in the capacity of public social service provision to victims of trafficking. Therefore changes in capacity of DSWD social service providers will also be discussed below.

Provision of Aftercare by IJM

For survivors who were identified through operations in which IJM was directly involved, IJM offers a comprehensive package of services based on individualized needs assessments. In addition to the services provided by DSWD to all victims of trafficking, these survivors also receive social work assistance and counseling from IJM social workers, access to vocational training opportunities and assistance in continuing their education, including tertiary education through referrals to NGO partners around the country. Several are enrolled in college and have been assisted with referrals to NGOs in other communities which can provide them with long term support.[27] Survivors indicate that they received excellent counselling and encouragement from IJM social workers, which as one survivor pointed out, made her see the potential for a future that she did not know was possible.[28]These survivors, as noted above, also receive far more intensive legal assistance and preparation for appearing in court.

IJM therefore does provide high quality to care to those victims who avail themselves of the services. However, the vast majority of victims rescued through IJM operations receive only immediate assistance at the time of rescue and repatriation assistance. Fifty-five percent decline assistance and very few participate in ongoing counseling, education programs, vocational training, or job placements.[29] The fact that so few of the rescued victims choose to avail themselves of services is cause for concern.

Provision of Aftercare by DSWD

DSWD provides what at first glance appears to be a comprehensive package of assistance to victims of trafficking. There is a comfortable shelter, with a variety of activities provided by DSWD and local partners. They provide referral for medical care and mental health treatment. Victims can apply for up to 10,000 peso per family through the Victim Compensation Fund which can be used to start a small business or support education. They conduct preparation for school re-insertion for children who are not prepared for school – including functional literacy, math and reading support and discussion of school and school setting. Most children attend public school while at the shelters – elementary school, high school and even in some cases college.[30]

However, the services provided in such a way as to support survivor’s recovery. DSWD social workers do not conduct needs assessments or prepare care plans, counseling is limited and there are few services offered to support future self-sufficiency. DSWD social workers described counseling as 1) discussion sessions covering topics such as child rights, impact of human trafficking health, etc. or 2) discussions dealing with problematic behavior.[31] Individual counseling for those with trauma they indicated was provided by social workers or house parents who attended the Trauma Informed Care (TIC) training (which, notably, had taken place only weeks before the evaluation field work).

Lack of Economic Self-Sufficiency Support

Nearly all informants, except notably, those from DSWD[32], expressed concern about long term aftercare services – feeling that there is not sufficient support for the victims or their families to address the poverty that they see as the main cause of the victim ending up in prostitution in the first place. The women and girls rescued in the raids lack employment opportunities and need assistance in gaining job skills and finding work. They believed that the women and girls would return to prostitution for lack of viable alternatives.[33] Police and social workers gave specific examples of such cases.[34]

Conditions of Release from DSWD Custody

According to DSWD rules adults must stay at the shelter voluntarily. All minors, adults without documents and anyone whose age is in question are brought to the shelter with or without their consent.[37] There have arisen disagreements over how to handle adults who appear to be traumatized, with DSWD believing that they cannot be brought to the shelter against their will and IJM believing that they should be because of their state of trauma.[38] IJM later clarified that they only advocate for involuntary referral to a shelter in cases where the victim is believed to suffer from a mental disorder or developmental disabilities and where placement in a shelter is believed to be in her best interest.[39]

Changes in Capacity of DSWD to Provide High Quality Aftercare Services to Victims of Trafficking

As noted above, while assessing changes in the capacity of DSWD to provide aftercare services was an evaluation question, it was not explicitly a part of IJM’s project. IJM recognizes that there is a need for more social workers and house parents to receive training. [40] While IJM has included social workers in many of its multidisciplinary trainings, they only recently started providing training specifically for aftercare services (in 2014 they provided TIC training). Participants found the training extremely useful and intend to change the way in which they interact with victims as a direct result of the training. They felt that the training helped them better understand the situation of the residents at the shelter and how their behaviors are shaped by their experiences and the trauma they have experienced. Many informants indicated that they would no longer use punishment at the shelters.[41]

The project does not yet have appeared to increase the capacity of DSWD social workers to provide high quality aftercare services. From discussions with survivors and with shelter staff, it does not appear that IJM social workers integrate DSWD social workers in their aftercare work with survivors. The DSWD shelter social worker stated clearly that IJM cares for survivors rescued during IJM-led investigations and they care for all others.[42] . IJM indicates that they conduct needs assessments and prepare treatment plans for survivors in collaboration with survivors and then in later consultation with DSWD.[43] Several IJM assisted survivors were able to describe an assistance planning process between them and their IJM social worker.[44]The social worker at the shelter, on the other hand, was not able to clearly articulate any assistance planning process for the survivors in her care, and realistically, their caseload may be too high for such intensive individual assistance to be possible.

5. Advocacy

IJM’s stated objective is to: Advocate with Public Justice Officials to prioritize enforcement of anti-sex trafficking laws and regulations. IJM has been very effective at advocating with public justice officials to prioritize enforcement of anti-sex trafficking laws and regulations. Both at the local and regional level in Pampanga and at the national level, IJM has been involved in a wide range of activities to encourage prioritization of anti-trafficking and victim protection measures. IJM was involved in drafting the amended trafficking bill sponsored in Congress, attending committee deliberations to provide input both in the House of Representatives and the Senate, until the consolidated bill on TIP was signed into law in 2013.IJM was also involved in development of the Implementing Rules and Regulations.[45]This amended law is praised as being the key to getting future convictions. However, convictions were obtained in other parts of the country on the old law and the first convictions in Pampanga were based on the old law not the amended law because the offenses were committed prior to the amended law going into effect.[46]

Inter-agency cooperation, especially between the PNP, DSWD, DOLE and barangay (village) officials is prescribed by law in human/sex trafficking cases.[47] When the project began, IJM identified a lack of coordination between PNP and DSWD on human trafficking cases. At the time of the evaluation, collaboration between PNP and DSWD seems effective and IJM had encouraged further collaboration between PNP and DOLE. IJM also found that it is not common for prosecutors to work with police during investigations to ensure that the evidence and affidavits are sufficient to justify charges and to ensure that charges are correctly filed. Currently IJM lawyers help the police, but they believe that this should be done in all cases to ensure effective prosecutions. IJM is currently advocating for cooperation protocols to address these shortcomings and institutionalize collaboration.[48]

Informants indicate high levels of cooperation amongst the different agencies involved in combating trafficking. However, they had differing opinions as the role that the IJM project has played in this regard. Many informants stated that cooperation was good even before the IJM project began.[49] Others believed that multidisciplinary training could be credited with improving coordination amongst agencies.[50] Some felt that events organized by IJM had opened up informal lines of communication which led to improved cooperation.[51]

B. Evaluation Question 2: Were the targets realistic in light of available resources and time?

Targets were set based on IJM’s experience in Cebu. IJM project start-up in Pampanga was very fast and effective. The project began October 1 2011. IJM, working with the PNP, undertook the first rescue operation March 31, 2012, securing the rescue of 10 victims of trafficking, the arrest of two suspects and the closure of a bar.[52]The GOP was very supportive of the project, a dedicated anti- trafficking task force was rapidly set up at the regional PNP. IJM was able to draw on the expertise of their own staff in-country and abroad, with initial start-up supported by Cebu and Manila staff with Manila-based lawyers prosecuting cases in Pampanga.[53]

IJM is set to meet or exceeded most of its targets, as illustrated below:

  • IJM’s target for the number of investigations in which IJM would be involved was 17 by the end of the project. IJM reports that as of January 31, 2014, 16 investigations had taken place.
  • IJM projected that 45 perpetrators of trafficking would be arrested by the end of the project. IJM indicates that as of April 2014 their partners have arrested 66 perpetrators, 43 with PNP and the rest with other law enforcement agencies.
  • Because of the normally slow pace at which trials proceed in the Philippines, the project targets the conviction of only two perpetrators by the end of the project in September 2014 with an additional 20 persons to be convicted post project from cases investigated and indicted during the project. IJM has already reached the target as two cases were adjudicated in record time with three persons convicted.
  • IJM targeted providing 288 hours of training to 170 police officers. To date they have provided 152 hours of training to 369[54]
  • IJM targeted providing 32 hours of training to 5 judges and 15 prosecutors. To date they have provided 28 hours of training to 14 judges and 44 hours of training to 36 prosecutors[55].
  • IJM targeted five prosecutions and one conviction by prosecutors who received training. Five prosecutions have been undertaken and 2 convictions have already been won by IJM trained public prosecutors.
  • IJM has already exceeded their target to rescue 110 victims of trafficking. As of June 30, 2014 they had rescued 126 victims of trafficking. The table below illustrates that IJM has met and, in most cases, exceeded their aftercare targets.
Service IJM Target Number of Survivors Receiving Service % of Total* Additional Non-VOTs rescued & receiving services
Shelter 110 89 71% 30
Medical care 40 111 88% 42
Legal aid 110 125 99% 59
Mental health services 85 76 60% 2
Life skills training (offered at shelter) 45 79 63% 4
Repatriation assistance 55 55 44% 23
Vocational training 10 10 8% 1
Formal Education 15 23 18% 0
Informal Education 4 10 8% 0
Crisis counseling (at time of rescue) 110 115 91% 69
*The percentages are based on the 126 victims of trafficking assisted through April 30, 2014.

The data from IACAT seems to indicate that there were significant numbers of prosecutions and arrests prior to the IJM project start-up, seeming to indicate that the targets might have been conservative. However the data provided by IACAT was very limited and the evaluators cannot assess the accuracy or reliability of the data provided. As for aftercare service targets, while IJM has met its targets these targets seem conservative. It is noteworthy that over half of rescued victims decline assistance and only a very small portion of all victims have received assistance designed to lead them to economic self-sufficiency with services such as education, vocational training and job placements.

C. Evaluation Question 3: Did the model of delivering training and services work? what lessons can be drawn about the model?

What IJM calls its justice system transformation model works in three phases. This project was originally designed to address phase one only. However, given IJM’s long history of work in the Philippines and their involvement with national institutions such as IACAT, IJM was able to introduce parts of phase 2 into the project in Pampanga. The project funded by JTIP therefore includes elements of both phases, with some of the later parts of phase II, such as sustainability, not expected to be achieved during this project.

  • Phase 1: Use case work to diagnose problems in the public justice system.
  • Phase 2: Reform the public justice system to ensure structural reform and sustainability.
  • Phase 3: Monitor progress to ensure sustainability.

The justice system transformation model operates on the theory that by a combination of the provision of training and working closely together skills will be transferred and capacity increased → increased capacity results in improved investigations → improved investigations result in better prosecutions → better prosecutions result in more convictions and → more convictions will function as a deterrent to the use of minors – as well as the trafficking of adults – for sexual exploitation. IJM’s model allows them to be closely involved in – and in many cases to take the lead in – all aspects of the process, from investigation to aftercare.

IJM’s main partner in investigations, the Region III Anti Trafficking Task Group (RATTG) unit at the PNP, seem to understand IJM’s project model, appreciate what they have learned from their collaborative work with IJM, and are able to transfer this to the work they do independently. In addition to significant on-the-job training through the collaborative casework model, IJM provided substantial training on investigating and undertaking sex trafficking operations.

For prosecutions and victim assistance IJM has provided less training and works more independently. While they are in a position to model some aspects of the process it is to a lesser degree and with a larger number of prosecutors and social workers (especially for rescue operations) which limits the transfer of skills. These partners are grateful to IJM for providing needed resources – material and human – but have not fully experienced the skills transfer opportunity and report only limited changes in their own work as a result of the work done in collaboration with IJM.

The collaborative casework model is most effective when IJM can work closely over time with a dedicated group of individuals. As a result it has been most effective in skills transfer and capacity building with IJM’s law enforcement partners in the Region III RATTG. The collaborative casework model in combination with the limited training provided has been less effective in building the capacity of prosecutors and especially DSWD aftercare service providers.

D. Evaluation Question 4: Were the project activities compatible with each other? if not why not?

IJM’s activities are compatible with one another. The project is extremely focused on combating sex trafficking in one geographic area. This focus ensures that all resources are clearly targeted. The project focus on police, prosecutors, judges and government social workers, is critical for addressing both rescue and assistance to victims and investigation, arrest and prosecution of perpetrators. IJM’s implementation method of combining mentoring and modeling with formal training also appears to be an effective approach. More emphasis is needed both for formal training and in mentoring and modeling to address the victim assistance shortcomings in the project. IJM’s advocacy work is also focused on promoting the investigation into and prosecution of sex trafficking cases in the country, complementing the project’s objectives.

E. Evaluation Question 5: Which anti-trafficking activities supported by the project appear to be sustainable?

Several factors may affect the sustainability of IJM’s efforts to increase the quantity and quality of PBJ led investigations and operations, these include staff turnover, resources, and commitment.

Investigations and Operations

The special task force at the PNP (the RATTG) looks set to continue and turnover of staff in the unit has been limited. There is also discussion of a national policy to establish such specialized units. Informants believe that having national designation would help support sustainability of the dedicated units and would help secure funding for their operations. They also believe that units functioning at the national level are also more resistant to corruption than regional or local units.

One way to counter the problem of staff turnover is to integrate training into existing training institutions. The Managing Trafficking in Persons Operations class, developed with IJM support, has been officially incorporated into the PNP’s basic training for all investigators. It is national in scope and is being conducted for every region in the country.

While DSWD has fewer turnovers in their staff than the PNP, DSWD draws on its large staff of social workers to participate in rescue operations. Additionally, social workers from LGUs are also called on to participate in operations. Because so many individuals are involved, it is harder to train them all and each is involved in fewer operations than they would be if social workers were drawn from a smaller group of individuals. IJM believes that the Regional Director has put forward a proposal for this to the national level, but she did not mention it during her interview, nor did it come up in any other interviews with DSWD staff.

Scale of Operations

IJM currently provides significant funding support to carry out investigations and operations. While most of those involved in investigations and rescues indicate that they will continue into the future, they state that the scale of operations might be reduced without IJM’s support. However, a concern was expressed at the national level that a lack of funds for supporting operations – especially for feeding rescued victims – could hamper future operations. It is hoped that the nationalization of the special police task forces will bring with it the necessary resources for carrying out effective operations.


Some informants indicated that human trafficking persists as a crime as it is a manifestation of corruption, where even police officers and politicians at high echelons of government are reportedly either owners, protectors or patrons of entertainment establishments that sexually exploit minors and women. IJM was said to have a watchdog function– that their very presence helps to deflect pressure on the police to derail investigations. The entertainment industry is a huge part of the economy of Pampanga and Angeles City in particular. Without IJM in this watchdog function, it is not clear how effectively the momentum can continue for anti-trafficking operations which disrupt the economic engine of the area. IJM thinks such perceptions tend to overestimate IJM’s role and underestimate the roles and contributions of local partners.


As noted above, there are no dedicated judges or prosecutors for trafficking cases and there are too many judges and prosecutors to train them all through this project. IJM worked with PHILJA to develop the training for judges and prosecutors. By integrating the training through PHILJA the training has a greater chance of being expanded to additional judges and prosecutors who could not be reached during the course of this project. PHILJA is in discussions with other donors to fund roll out of the training to additional judges and prosecutors.[56]

Aftercare Services

Given that IJM’s project did not include specific capacity building support to DSWD for the provision of aftercare services, this support has been quite limited to date. It is unlikely that DSWD could replicate the aftercare services provide by IJM without their continued assistance. In terms of staff continuity in cases of human trafficking, DSWD staff fare better than the PNP, with little staff turnover. Therefore, training of DSWD staff has a more lasting impact.

F. Evaluation Question 6: What programmatic and managerial lessons can be learned from the experience of the project?

There are many programmatic and managerial lessons which can be learned from this project. Some are discussed in other sections of the report, such as regarding the successes and challenges of IJM’s collaborative casework model, the difficulties in providing aftercare services to survivors and the importance of local support for the project. Other lessons discussed below include IJM’s monitoring and implementation mechanisms and the importance of relationship building with local partners.

IJM Monitoring and Evaluation Mechanisms

IJM has a comprehensive monitoring and evaluation (M&E) system in place. They have a long term implementation plan which includes milestones that go beyond the JTIP project to include all three phases of their collaborative case work model. They monitor output and impact regularly including during quarterly reviews with all department heads.[57]

At the overall project level IJM conducts research into the availability of minors for prostitution in the target geographic area before and after the project. While there are limitations to the methodology used, this is still an important step in trying to measure the impact of projects designed to combat human trafficking and goes far beyond what the vast majority of trafficking projects achieve.

IJM’s M&E system is generally very sophisticated and well thought out to monitor progress on outputs as well as results and impact. To some extent IJM’s monitoring system underestimates the impact of their project in that it does not count investigations, prosecutions or victims rescued by its key counterparts unless IJM was directly involved in the operation.[58], [59]As the project goal is to increase the quantity and quality of PJS-led trafficking investigations, prosecutions and convictions and the objective is to build the capacity of the PJS and DSWD, it is necessary to measure these indicators for cases which are led by and coordinated by the PJS and DSWD. This data would better allow IJM to measure the impact the project has had on the capacity of these local actors. Long term sustainability is also dependent on these local actors being able to continue these operations without IJM assistance. Therefore, without knowing changes in their capacity it is difficult to ascertain the sustainability of the results achieved by the project.

Relationships with Key Partners

IJM is held in high regard by their many partners, who express appreciation for the activities supported by the project. They find IJM staff to be highly qualified, experienced and very dedicated. They also find them approachable and easy to work with. IJM staff put considerable effort into building and maintaining these relationships. [60]

  • “If there is one group that I have met who is so effective, coordinated, organized and helpful. And they are so helpful as well, it is the IJM.”[61]
  • IJM has excellent experience – especially legal issues. Excellent coordination with DOLE and success in addressing employment of children in Karaoke bars in NCR.[62]

G. Evaluation Question 7: can the model of delivering training and services be replicated in other countries? if so, what factors should be considered in replicating it?

There are many factors that affect the replicability of the IJM Collaborative Casework Model, whether in the Philippines or elsewhere. This section will consider some of the elements which made it possible for IJM to replicate the model from Cebu to Pampanga and the context in which the model can best thrive. Some of these factors include: government commitment, demonstrated success of the IJM model, relationship building and personal commitment, existing service structures for aftercare, and dedicated anti-trafficking units.

Government Commitment

In 2009, the Philippines was placed on Tier 2 Watch List for failing to show progress in convicting trafficking offenders. With several convictions in 2010, the country was upgraded back to Tier 2 in 2011. This saw the emergence of champions at the highest levels of government and at the forefront of activities against human trafficking. With the enactment of the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012, President of the Philippines expressed optimism that he “expects the Philippines to be stricken off the United States list of countries plagued by human trafficking”. In 2012, the Vice President was appointed chairman emeritus of the IACAT and chairman of the Presidential Task Force Against Illegal Recruitment (PTFAIR).

This commitment was also reflected in the role and status of IACAT which gained strength, momentum and influence. The IACAT budget has been increasing –from 25 million in 2011 to 100 million pesos in 2013. This increase also came with a change in IACAT status. Its new legal status means that in future it will continue to receive a direct allocation of funds from the budget. The interest of the national IACAT as well as the regional PNP’s dedication of a special unit (task force) to address trafficking and the number of non-IJM initiated activities in the region would seem to indicate that there is significant local support for fighting sex trafficking of minors.

Demonstrated Success

Prior to the implementation of the project in Pampanga IJM had 5 years of project implementation experience in Cebu as well as experience in the National Capital Region. Because cases often involve victims or perpetrators from other regions, through these projects, IJM had working relationships with agencies in other regions, including Region III. Due to the success of IJM’s projects in Cebu and the National Capital Region, and especially the successful convictions resulting from the project, IJM’s plan to replicate Project Lantern of Cebu in another region of the country was well-received and encouraged by the Secretary of the Department of Justice. The DSWD Region III Director as well as NBI National and Region III Directors were also enthusiastic to have IJM’s support and made a pitch to IJM to consider expanding its presence in Region III. This was supported by the national IACAT, who were concerned that Region III had the highest level of reported trafficking cases, but not a single conviction. IJM was therefore not only known by the main stakeholders nationally and in Region III but had a track record of success.

Relationships and Personal Commitment

IJM believes that more than political will, the key to success consists of good will, strong relationships and trust. As noted above, IJM came to Region III with pre-existing relationships with some of the key partners such as NBI and DSWD. As indicated by key informant interviews, IJM worked hard to develop and encourage relationships of trust with many additional partners in Region III, such as PNP and DOLE, and include all levels of an institution, from the heads of agencies to those who implement the work on the ground.

Existing Service Structures for Aftercare

The biggest weakness in IJM’s program in Pampanga is aftercare services. While shelter homes were available, staff of these homes was not equipped to deal with the problems faced by survivors of trafficking. Additionally, there were few aftercare services available in the community, and no effective mechanisms to refer victims for services which would lead to economic self- sufficiency. It is necessary to have adequate services in place before rescue operations are undertaken. Removing victims from prostitution without offering them viable alternatives may have the unanticipated and undesired consequence of making their life more difficult. During the course of the raid they are at risk for not being paid earnings owed to them or end up further indebted, may lose their belongings, and may be made more traumatized by the police intervention. While IJM tries to mitigate these risks during operations they are involved in, these unintended consequences can result. If survivors have no viable alternatives to earn a living they may end up right back in prostitution again. While IJM tries to mitigate these risks during operations they are involved in, these unintended consequences can result. If survivors have no viable alternatives to earn a living they may end up right back in prostitution again. As a result, ensuring that appropriate and effective aftercare services are in place or can be rapidly put in place is a necessary component for replication of the model. [63]

Dedicated Anti-Trafficking Units

The existence of a dedicated anti trafficking unit at the PNP has been instrumental in IJM’s success in Pampanga. It has allowed IJM to work intensively with the same group of police officers over time. This has 1) supported the development of trusting relationships, 2) ensured the opportunity for IJM to model its case work methodologies repeatedly with the same group of people, providing extensive opportunities for on-the-job training and 3) ensures that the units assigned to work with IJM can devote themselves fully to anti-trafficking work and are not distracted by a need to work other cases.

IV. Gender Analysis


Identified victims of trafficking in the Philippines have been primarily female. IJM’s Trafficking in Persons Project in Central Luzon (2011-2014) has assisted 126 victims of human trafficking for sexual exploitation in the commercial sexual industry as of April 2014. Of the total 94% were female, 6% were male. The median age of the identified victims was 19 years old. The majority (64%) of identified victims were adults. However, all male victims identified were minors. Data from PNP and IACAT also indicate that most of the rescued victims are adults with few male victims reported. Data from DSWD shown below indicates a higher percentage of male victims assisted in shelters (10%) and includes adult male victims. Given IJM’s focus on sex trafficking might explain the larger portion of female victims in their program than those recorded by DSWD.

Services for Male and Female Survivors

The package of services available for boys and girls appeared to be the same. DSWD has separate residential facilities available for girls and boys, women and men. However, the Haven shelter for women and girls was nicer than boys’ facility at Lingap. The facility for girls provided more open space and recreation facilities and appeared more recently renovated with nicer dormitories and facilities. However, the staff of both shelters appeared to be equally caring and dedicated to the support of the survivors.

Staff Interacting with Survivors

DSWD staffs are mostly female, although they have many men on staff and have primarily male staff at the shelter for boys. The staff of Haven shelter for women and girls is almost all female, with the exception of the guards.[64]The staff of the Lingap Center for boys is mostly male, although they have two female house parents for the younger children as well as a female cook and a female cleaner.[65]

Police are more male than female, but female police are specially utilized in trafficking operations. There are two women officers in the RATTG task force, but they would like to have more female officers.[66]There are also female officers on the Women and Children Protection Desks (WCPDs) which are located in every municipal police station and are frequently engaged for trafficking operations. Considering that trafficked victims are mostly female, there is a belief that they tend to open up and are inclined towards female police officers during the conduct of investigations. Standard operating police procedures require that only female police officers can and should frisk women and girls. Female police officers are also engaged in cases where an entertainment establishment caters only to foreign clients; a foreigner-asset is accompanied by a female policewoman to gain access and entry to the establishment.[67]

Prosecutors are primarily male, although there are many female prosecutors [the evaluators requested but did not receive a gender breakdown of staff from the prosecutor’s office]. Judges are both male and female. Three of the four recent convictions were presided over by the same female judge, the fourth by a male judge.

IJM Training Participants

There are more male training participants in IJM’s courses directed toward law enforcement officers and prosecutors. However, courses which involved judges and social workers had more female trainees than male.[68] The evaluators did not receive the full list of law enforcement personnel trained by IJM and can therefore not provide data as to the total number of men and women trained by IJM.

[1] Communication, IJM, July 2014

[2] Interview, Regional PNP RATTG, May 5, 2014; Interview, DSWD regional office, May 6

[3] Interview, DSWD Region III, May 8, 2014; Interview, DSWD Haven shelter, May 7, 2014

[4] Interview, national IACAT members, May 14, 2014; FGD, PNP, Angeles City, May 12, 2014

[5] Communication, IJM, July 2014.

[6] Interview, national IACAT members, May 14, 2014

[7] FGD, PNP, San Fernando, May 6, 2014; FGD, PNP, Angeles City, May 12, 2014

[8] Interview, Regional PNP RATTG, May 5, 2014; FGD, PNP, San Fernando, May 6, 2014; FGD, PNP, Angeles City, May 12, 2014; interview DSWD regional, May 8, 2014; Interview, NBI Region III, May 8, 2014; interview Angeles City Police, May 9, 2014

[9] Interview, Regional PNP RATTG, May 5, 2014; Interview, Angeles City Police, May 9, 2014

[10] Interview, Regional PNP RATTG, May 5, 2014

[11] Interview, DSWD Region III, May 6; Interview, DSWD Region III, May 8, 2014

[12] Interviews, survivors

[13] Interview, PHILJA, May 13, 2014

[14] Email communication with IJM

[15] FGD, Judges, May 6, 2014

[16] Interview, Regional Prosecutor, May 6, FGD, Prosecutors, May 6, 2014; Interview, Angeles City Prosecutor, May 9, 2014

[17] Interview, Regional Prosecutor, May 6; Interview, NBI Regional Office, May 8, 2014

[18] While many of those trained indicate that they learned of the importance of separating the victims from the accused and ensuring that the victims are not confronted by the accused, this does not seem to take place in practice, possibly due to the current facilities and layout of the courthouses (Interview, Regional Prosecutor, May 6). According to social workers who accompany them, the victims always face the perpetrator in court (Interview, DSWD Region III, May 6).

[19] FGD, Judges, May 6, 2014

[20] Interview, DSWD Lingap center, May 10, 2014

[21] Interview, Regional PNP RATTG, May 5, 2014

[22] Interview, Regional Prosecutor, May 6

[23] Interview, Regional Prosecutor, May 6

[24] Interview, DSWD Lingap center, May 10, 2014; Interview, DSWD Region III, May 8

[25] Interviews, survivors

[26] Interview, Regional Prosecutor, May 6; Interview, Angeles City Prosecutor, Hall of Justice, May 9, 2014; Interview, NBI Regional Office, May 8, 2014

[27] Interviews, survivors

[28] Interviews, survivors

[29]IJM (2014). Semi-Annual Project Report (August 1, 2013 – January 31, 2014), Annex A.

[30] Interview, DSWD Lingap center, May 10, 2014; Interview, Haven shelter, May 7, 2014

[31] Interview, DSWD Lingap Center, May 10, 2014; Interview, Haven shelter, May 7, 2014

[32] DSWD staff identified as the biggest constraints not any limitations on the services they are able to offer, but that victims do not want to be there and are angry or the behavior and readiness of the family and community (Interview, Haven shelter, May 7, 2014; Interview, DSWD Lingap center, May 10, 2014).

[33] interview with DOLE officials, May 6; Interview, Region III IACAT, May 9, 2014; Interview, WCPD, national PNP, May 14, 2014; Interview, NBI Regional Office, May 8, 2014; FGD, PNP Angeles City, May 12,2014; Interview, Angeles City Prosecutor, May 9, 2014; Interview, IJM Pampanga, May 13, 2014

[34] Interview, WCPD, national PNP, May 14, 2014; Interview, Haven shelter, May 7, 2014

[35] Interview, NBI Regional Office, May 8, 2014; Interview, Region III IACAT, May 9, 2014; Interview, NBI Regional Office, May 8, 2014; Interviews, survivors

[36] Interviews, survivors

[37] Interview, NCR DSWD, May 14, 2014; Interview, DSWD Region III, May 6

[38] Interview, DSWD Region III, May 8, 2014; Interview, IJM Pampanga, May 13, 2014

[39] IJM notes that in such cases, Philippine law allows for their involuntary placement in a shelter for their own protection (communication with IJM, July 2014).

[40] Interview, IJM, Pampanga office, May 5, 2014

[41] FGD, Social Workers, May; Interview, DSWD Lingap center, May 10, 2014; Interview, DSWD region III, May 6; Interview, DSWD Region III, May 8, 2014

[42] Interview, DSWD Haven shelter, May 7, 2014

[43] Interview, IJM, Pampanga office, May 5, 2014

[44] Interviews, survivors

[45] Interview, national IACAT members, May 14, 2014

[46] Interview, national IACAT members, May 14, 2014

[47] FGD, PNP, San Fernando, May 6, 2014

[48] Interview, IJM, Pampanga office, May 5, 2014

[49] interview, DSWD Region III, May 6; Interview, Regional PNP RATTG, May 5, 2014

[50]Interview, DSWD Lingap center, May 10, 2014

[51] Interview, Regional PNP RATTG, May 5, 2014

[52]IJM (2012). Combating Sexual Exploitation in Central Luzon: Program Update February 1 – July 31, 2012. International Justice Mission: San Fernando.

[53]Interview, IJM, Metro Manila, May 15, 2014

[54] Updated data provided by IJM during the report writing process indicates 436 officer trained (communication with IJM, July 2014)

[55] Updated data provided by IJM during the report writing process indicates 28 hours of training to 33 judges and 32 hours of training to 39 prosecutors (communication with IJM, July 2014)

[56] Interview, PHILJA, May 13, 2014

[57] Interview, IJM, Pampanga, May 5, 2014

[58] Interview, IJM Pampanga, May 13, 2014

[59] This is due in some part to confidentiality provisions in the law.

[60] Interview, IJM, Pampanga office, May 5, 2014

[61] Interview, Region III IACAT, May 9, 2014

[62] Interview, national IACAT members, May 14, 2014

[63] IJM disagrees that services must be in place before rescue operations begin, stating: ‘while viable economic self-sufficiency options are necessary and key components of a holistic anti-sex trafficking response, it is not acceptable to leave victims, particularly minors, in abusive situations until all services are in place’ (communication with IJM, July 2014).

[64] Interview, Haven shelter, May 7, 2014

[65] Interview, DSWD Lingap center, May 10, 2014

[66] Interview, Regional PNP RATTG, May 5, 2014

[67] Interview, Regional PNP RATTG, May 5, 2014

[68] Gathered from various IJM training reports and data provided.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future