Hontiveros uncovers menu of sex services, trafficked women for Chinese POGO workers

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Sen. Risa Hontiveros, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality, presides over a public hearing Tuesday, 28 January 2020 on the proliferation of human trafficking activities in the country brought about by the influx of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO). (Albert Calvelo/Senate PRIB)

MANILA — Filipino girls, as well as trafficked Chinese women, are victims in the recent rise of prostitution dens catering to Chinese nationals residing in the country, reveals Senator Risa Hontiveros in a hearing on Tuesday, January 28, 2020.

“Hindi pwedeng nagiging pugad tayo ng Chinese prostitution dens,” said Hontiveros, who led the investigation on the rescues of Philippine Offshore Gambling Operators (POGO)-related sexual trafficking victims in Metro Manila.

“Tatlo ang anak kong babae, ang isa menor de edad. ‘Pag nakikita ko sa TV ang mga babaeng nahuhuli sa raid na punong puno ng hiya at takot, isa lang ang tumatakbo sa isip ko: this girl is someone’s daughter. And we have failed her,” she added.

Among the rescued is alias Carina, 15 years old, who testified in the hearing. The girl, among other Filipina women prior their rescue, was kept by a Chinese national in a house in Makati. The woman primarily serviced a Chinese clientele, and were paid at least P6,000 per job, an amount that increases if they were asked to spend the night or perform extra services, but half of which went to their Chinese handler.

Hontiveros’ investigation also exposed a menu of sex services, including photos of trafficked Chinese women, that is passed around through messaging apps Telegram and WeChat.

“May menu of services, parang restoran,” said Hontiveros. “Yung mga babae, parang inoorder lang sa app ng mga Chinese members ng chatgroup. Parang Grabfood, may menu, may presyo, then darating na lang sa hotel o condo mo,” she described.

The messages revealed the services offered that were primarily sexual in nature.

In light of these revelations, Hontiveros called for the Bureau of Immigration to suspend its Visa Upon Arrival (VUA) program for Chinese nationals, a scheme that has readily assisted the rise of Chinese criminals in the country. “We need to suspend the Visa Upon Arrival scheme for Chinese nationals,” she declared.

“Security threat na kasi ito satin: to our women and to our girls!” she exclaimed.

The senator also urged the National Bureau of Investigation and the Philippine National Police to conduct an immediate crackdown on POGO-related prostitution dens across the Philippines. “Pati yung mga sarili nating kababaihan at kabataan, nabibiktima na,” Hontiveros declared.

Additionally, the Senator is studying the suspension of all POGO operations in the country, while reviewing the economic implications as well as ensuring that there are safety nets in place to protect our women and children.

“Kailangan na nating umaksyon. We need to look into suspending POGO operations because they attract criminals into our country,” Hontiveros concluded. (PRIB/S.Ang/IA/CPH)

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