MANILA, Philippines - A prosecutor in Zamboanga City has been included in the 2011 US Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report as one of the heroes in the fight against human trafficking.
The report, released by the US State Department on Tuesday, descirbes these individuals as those who "have devoted their lives to the fight against human trafficking."
"These individuals are NGO workers, lawmakers, police officers, and concerned citizens who are committed to ending modern slavery. They are recognized for their tireless efforts – despite resistance, opposition, and threats to their lives – to protect victims, punish offenders, and raise awareness of ongoing criminal practices in their countries and abroad," the 2011 report said.
Here is the citation:
Darlene Pajarito is an assistant city prosecutor in Zamboanga City and is known as one of the strongest anti-trafficking advocates in the Philippines. After joining the Department of Justice in 2004, Ms. Pajarito secured the Philippines’ first sex trafficking conviction in 2005 and the first labor trafficking conviction in 2011. With convictions against five traffickers in Zamboanga, she has secured more convictions than have been handed down in any other Philippine city. At any one time, Ms. Pajarito is prosecuting numerous trafficking cases. Ms. Pajarito has accomplished all this while juggling an average caseload of more than 300 other criminal cases in a country where criminal trials last an average of six years in the overburdened and backlogged judiciary.
Ms. Pajarito also encourages, supports, and trains law enforcement, social workers, specialized agents, and government entities on human trafficking issues, the Philippines’ anti-trafficking law, and methods to prosecute traffickers effectively. Her advocacy rejuvenated the Regional Interagency Committee Against Trafficking and led to the formation of Sea-Based and Air-Based Anti-Trafficking Task Forces. In 2010, the justice secretary also selected her to lead the Region IX Anti-Trafficking Task Force. Her successful record has shown other prosecutors the value of police-prosecutors cooperation in the development of strong cases against traffickers.