Section 3


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Criminal liability Debt bondage Forced labour Human trafficking Slavery

Section 3 provides a number of definitions, including the definition of human trafficking, which mirrors the definition as established in the UN Human Trafficking Protocol.  Section 3 further clarifies the terms used in the Act, and provides the definitions for a number of terms, including forced labour, slavery and debt bondage.

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Section 3. Definition of Terms.

As used in this Act:

(a) Trafficking in Persons – refers to the recruitment, obtaining, hiring, providing, offering, transportation, transfer, maintaining, harboring, or receipt of persons with or without the victim’s consent or knowledge, within or across national borders by means of threat, or use of force, or other forms of coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power or of position, taking advantage of the vulnerability of the person, or, the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person for the purpose of exploitation which includes at a minimum, the exploitation or the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery, servitude or the removal or sale of organs.

The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, adoption or receipt of a child for the purpose of exploitation or when the adoption is induced by any form of consideration for exploitative purposes shall also be considered as ‘trafficking in persons’ even if it does not involve any of the means set forth in the preceding paragraph.

(b) Child – refers to a person below eighteen (18) years of age or one who is over eighteen (18) but is unable to fully take care of or protect himself/herself from abuse, neglect, cruelty, exploitation, or discrimination because of a physical or mental disability or condition. […]

(d) Forced Labor – refers to the extraction of work or services from any person by means of enticement, violence, intimidation or threat, use of, force or coercion, including deprivation of freedom, abuse of authority or moral ascendancy, debt-bondage or deception including any work or service extracted from any person under the menace of penalty.

(e) Slavery – refers to the status or condition of a person over whom any or all of the powers attaching to the right of ownership are exercised.

(f) Involuntary Servitude – refers to a condition of enforced and compulsory service induced by means of any scheme, plan or pattern, intended to cause a person to believe that if he or she did not enter into or continue in such condition, he or she or another person would suffer serious harm or other forms of abuse or physical restraint, or threat of abuse or harm, or coercion including depriving access to travel documents and withholding salaries, or the abuse or threatened abuse of the legal process.


(i) Debt Bondage – refers to the pledging by the debtor of his/her personal services or labor or those of a person under his/her control as security or payment for a debt, when the length and nature of services is not clearly defined or when the value of the services as reasonably assessed is not applied toward the liquidation of the debt.

Law / Philippines / Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003 (as amended by RA 10364)

The Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003 provides the legal framework for the criminalization of human trafficking in the Philippines. The Anti-Trafficking Act provides the definition of human trafficking, and specifies and criminalizes a number of ‘acts of trafficking in persons’, as well as acts that ‘promote trafficking in persons’. The Act specifically prohibits human trafficking for the purposes of forced labour, slavery, debt bondage and involutary servitude, and determines severe penalties, with sentences of up to life imprisonment and a five million pesos fine for those convicted of trafficking. The Act further provides that in cases where the offender is a corporation, partnership, association or any other form of juridical person, the penalty will be imposed upon the owner, president, manager, or any responsible person who participated in the commission of the crime, or who knowingly permitted, or failed to prevent its commission. This Act was amended by RA 10364 “An Act Expanding Republic Act No. 9208”.