What is the Meaning of IACAT – Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking

The Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) is a government-run agency focusing on cases and problems of trafficking in persons in the Philippines. It facilitates immediate coordination and responses between various agencies ang organizations, making it possible to prevent and eliminate cases of trafficking in persons. But what exactly is IACAT, and how does it function? To find out, read on as we share everything about the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT).

Founded in 2013, the IACAT agency has members from different government agencies and representatives from non-government organizations. IACAT is the leading agency that handles the coordination and supervision of the Republic Act No. 9208 strict implementation. Aside from that, IACAT helps protect and assist victims of trafficking by convicting the offenders. Therefore, IACAT is a vital agency that ensures Filipinos and foreign nationals who are victims of trafficking are protected.

meaning of iacat Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking

What is IACAT

IACAT stands for the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking. It’s a government agency in the Philippines mandated by law to coordinate and supervise the administration of the Republic Act No. 9208 or the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003. IACAT also works with the Department of Justice (DOJ) as the lead agency to monitor the directive.

Founded Under RA 9208 section 20, IACAT consists of various government agencies and non-government representatives. This agency administers varying projects that aim to eliminate the trafficking of persons in the Philippines and prevent its occurrence. In addition, the agency’s projects help protect and rehabilitate the victims by convicting trafficking offenders.


Also known as the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003, RA No. 9208 established policies to prevent trafficking in persons, specifically children and women. Under this law, IACAT was founded with the primary purpose of assisting and protecting trafficked persons. The agency also provides and implements penalties for the violations. Through the Republic Act No. 10346 or the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act, RA No. 9208 was revised in 2012.

Furthermore, the agency was founded as the primary coordinating body, monitoring and observing the strict administration of RA No. 10346. IACAT was mandated to develop unified and extensive programs to eliminate and crack down on trafficking in persons. The law also established vital institutional mechanisms to assist and protect trafficked persons.

It ensures prompt coordination and effective counter-responses to trafficking-related cases, especially in the prosecution and investigation process. The agency also establishes anti-trafficking task forces to effectively and immediately respond to trafficking in person, from a filing cases to protecting trafficked persons’ rights and needs. Currently, IACAT has 24 task forces, including two (2) national task forces, six (6) port-based task forces, and sixteen (16) regional task forces.

iacat logo

Powers & Functions

Below are the powers and functions of the IACAT agency:

  • Develop integrated and extensive programs to stop and subdue trafficking in persons
  • Disseminate essential rules and regulations, allowing efficient implementation of RA No. 9208
  • Supervise and monitor the strict administration of RA No. 9208
  • Synchronize the projects and programs of varying member agencies to ensure effective management of the problems and issues concerning trafficking in persons.
  • Oversee the information dissemination and advocate the law’s existence, trafficking-related programs, and issues to the local government units (LGUs), non-government organizations (NGOs), and other concerned agencies.
  • Govern other agencies to promptly manage trafficking-related problems and report the course of action to the Council.
  • Helps in filing cases against individuals, institutions, agencies, or establishments violating the Act’s provisions
  • Create programs to assist with the reintegration of trafficked persons in collaboration with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), LGUs, and NGOs
  • Secure needed assistance from agencies, bureaus, departments, offices, government, NGOs, and civic organizations to administer the Act effectively.
  • Supplement collective government information system for migration with data on trafficking in person cases as per the Republic Act No 8042 or the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995
  • Ensure the concerned agencies perform continuous research and study on the schemes and patterns of trafficking in persons, serving as the groundwork to formulate policies and administer programs.
  • Establish a mechanism to guarantee prompt coordination and effective response to trafficking in person cases.
  • Propose measures to improve mutual assistance and collective efforts with foreign countries via bilateral/multilateral agreements to avoid and eliminate international trafficking in persons.
  • Collaborate with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), and other NGOs to monitor the campaign of trafficking advertisements on the internet.
  • Apply measures and policies to protect the rights and needs of foreign nationals trafficked in the Philippines.
  • Institute training programs to determine and provide essential assistance or intervention to trafficked persons
  • Utilize all the powers and conduct other functions imperative to achieve the objectives and purposes of RA No. 9208

IACAT Operation Center

Under the IACAT Executive Director’s supervision, the IACAT Operation Center (OPCEN) operates as the primary integrating and monitoring office for all cases of trafficking in persons. It accepts and processes the reports and complaints about trafficking in person cases. It also serves as the adviser and locator of witnesses/victims and as a referral center for assistance and protection of victims through reintegration services referrals.

IACAT Member Agencies

Here are the following members of IACAT:

  • Secretary of the Department of Justice (Chairperson)
  • Secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (Co-Chairperson)
  • Secretary of the Department of Education
  • Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs
  • Secretary of the Department of Health
  • Secretary of the Department of Information and Communications Technology
  • Secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government
  • Secretary of the Department of Labor and Employment
  • Secretary of the Department of Migrant Workers
  • Secretary of the Department of Tourism
  • Secretary of the Department of Transportation
  • Secretary/Chairperson of Commission on Filipino Overseas
  • Chairperson of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples
  • Chief of the Philippine National Police
  • Commissioner of the Bureau of Immigration
  • Commissioner of the National Authority for Child Care
  • Director of National Bureau of Investigation
  • Executive Director of Anti-Money Laundering Council
  • Executive Director of Blas Ople Policy Center and Training Institute
  • Executive Director of Coalition Against Trafficking of Women- Asia and the Pacific
  • Executive Director of Council for the Welfare of Children
  • Executive Director of the Philippine Center on Transnational Crime
  • Executive Director of the Philippine Commission on Women
  • Governor of League of the Provinces of the Philippines
  • Mayor of League of the Cities of the Philippines
  • Mayor of League of the Municipalities of the Philippine
  • National Director of International Justice Mission
  • PCG Commandant of Philippine Coast Guard

2023 Revised IACAT Guidelines on Departure Formalities for International Bound Filipino Passengers

According to the 2023 Revised IACAT Guidelines on Departure Formalities, all international-bound Filipinos should undergo immigration inspection, including assessment, clearance, and documentation. Here’s the in-depth guide on the implementation of the said revision:

Basic Travel Documents

  • Passport with at least six (6) months of validity before the date of departure
  • Valid visa (if required)
  • Boarding pass
  • Confirmed return or roundtrip ticket (if necessary)

Primary Inspection

  1. The Bureau of Immigration (BI) primary Immigration Officer (IO) will interview the passenger regarding the purpose of travel and examine the basic travel documents.
  2. The IO may ask relevant clarification questions and additional supporting documents from the passenger.
  3. The primary IO will clear a passenger’s departure, given sufficient proof to establish the declared purpose of travel.
  4. The primary IO may hold the passenger’s departure based on the following grounds:
  5. Passengers who presented falsified, fraudulent, or tampered travel or supporting documents
  6. Passengers who refuse to go through the primary inspection
  7. The following passengers have to undergo secondary inspection by the primary IO:
  8. Failed to establish the purpose of travel during primary inspection.
  9. Insufficient or inconsistent travel/supporting documents
  10. Don’t have proof of financial capacity to travel or accompanied by a non-relative foreign national
  11. Traveling with/without a visa to Alert Level 3 or 4 countries as per DFA and with deployment bans determined by DMW
  12. Previously stayed abroad for more than six (6) months as a tourist or misunderstood travel information.
  13. With active deferred-departure records
  14. Identified/reported by IACAT or other government agencies as a possible illegally recruited/trafficked person or suspected as an illegal recruiter/trafficker
  15. The primary IO will inform the passenger of the ground for referral or deferment. Then, the primary IO will require the passenger to fulfill a Border Control Questionnaire (BCQ) containing the action and assessment of the primary IO.

Secondary Inspection

  1. The secondary IO will interview the passenger regarding the purpose of travel and examine the supporting documents.
  2. After inspecting, the secondary IO will decide whether to allow or defer the passenger’s departure based on the purpose of travel, destination, duration of stay, travel history, age, financial capacity, and educational background.
  3. Next, the secondary IO will inform the passenger of the assessment and provide a requirements checklist.
  4. The secondary inspection will not exceed 15 minutes if unusual circumstances don’t occur.
  5. If circumstances require, a secondary IO will perform random redundancy checks/inspections on passengers cleared by a primary IO.

Additional Supporting Documents

Aside from the basic travel documents, the IO may ask for relevant clarification questions and additional supporting documents if applicable. The IO will require various supporting documents depending on the passenger category, such as a tourist, minor, Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW), dependent family member of OFWs, student, or scholar.


To sum up, the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) is vital in protecting international-bound Filipinos. The agency protects Filipinos against possible illegal recruiters/traffickers. It also supports victims of trafficking in persons, whether local or foreign nationals. With the programs and strict supervision of IACAT, trafficking cases can be prevented and eliminated. Thus, IACAT and its member agencies will benefit many Filipinos, especially children and women.

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