Two American nationals and a Briton were accused of white slavery and bribery by the police after authorities raided their night clubs on Fields Avenue. The raids resulted in the arrest of 57 hospitality girls, all working without permits.
DMZ Bar owner Norvel Delbert Bostick, a retired US Marine and a native of California, a certain "Daddy" Kelly of Honey Pot Bar and former UK policeman Richard Agnew have been slapped with criminal charges in court after the simultaneous
Except for Bostick, who was detained at the city district jail for a direct bribery offense, police said Kelly and Agnew remain at large. They will still be facing a jail term if found in violation of Article 341 of the Revised Penal Code or the
white slave trade.
Police said Bostick allegedly offered P9,000 to a member of the raiding team in exchange for the release of seven women arrested inside his bar. The policeman turned the offer and immediately handcuffed the American.
On Tuesday, police at the tourist belt area raided the Blue Nile Club, the biggest girlie bar on Fields Avenue. The bar employs more than 500 guest relations officers (GRO) including waitresses and dancers. Complaints said most of the workers there
do not have permits.
Later, policemen raided the Honey Pot Bar and arrested five women, all working without the necessary permits from the city hall. Night clubs owners employing women without the necessary working permits is violation under a city ordinance, an official
Police said the campaign against prostitution will continue.
Police have arrested 65 young women, aged 18-27, during raids in the past three days in five Quezon City establishments.
Seven male dancers were arrested at the Makisig gay bar on Timog Avenue, Barangay Sacred Heart.
At around 2:30 am, QCPD Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit (CIDU) operatives arrested 13 dancers from the Encounter KTV Bar on Quezon Avenue after receiving information that they were suuposedly forced to perform lewd acts. Policemen also
arrested the bar's floor manager, four cashiers and checkers, and 20 male customers.
The QCPD had arrested or invited for questioning at least 120 persons since it started last week its crackdown on suspected prostitution dens in the city.
Chief Inspector Cherry Lou Donato, chief of QCPD-CIDU's Women and Children's Desk, said one of the women was caught dancing in the nude. Donato said the 19-year-old girl told them she and most of the women in the bar were forced by the club owner to
do lewd acts on stage: But even if the women consented to what their manager said, it was still a violation of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act, Donato told the Inquirer.
About 11 pm Saturday, QCPD-CIDU agents apprehended 22 guest relations officers (GROs) from the Flirt Disco Bar in Cubao. Arrested were floor manager, five waiters and two cashiers. The GROs were later released after presenting work permits from the
Another group of policemen swooped down on Bartolina II KTV Bar, also in Cubao, and arrested 17 GROs and dancers.
Meanwhile, QCPD Station 10 members raided the Executive Spa on Quezon Avenue, Barangay Roxas, after an anonymous informant reported that massage attendants offered sex to clients for P1,500. Thirteen massage attendants were brought to the Kamuning
police station but were later freed.
Quezon City Police District chief, Senior Supt. Magtanggol Gatdula has ordered a district-wide crackdown on lewd shows in bars.
Gatdula said the campaign would cover gay bars, KTV bars and discos that feature nude shows: I have ordered all station commanders in the district to conduct their respective raids on these nightclubs. I do not expect them to return with zero
results, he told Standard Today.
Five foreigners were arrested for operating nightclubs in a former US Air Base in central Philippines, where hundreds of sex workers were supposedly trafficked from the south of the country.
Three Americans, a Japanese and an Australian were arrested after the Philippine National Police's Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) launched several raids on Sunshine Bar, the Blue Nile and the Golden Nile night clubs on Fields Avenue
in Balibago village, said CIDG director, Chief Superintendent Samuel Pagdilao Jr.
The only detainee whose name was given out was Australian Terrence James Smith, manager of Sunshine Bar. Three of the other four remain in detention while one American has been released, said a source.
If convicted, they would be charged with human trafficking, which is penalised by life imprisonment.
About 17 women worked at the Sunshine Bar. The rest were from the other bars that were raided.
Most of the women came from Mindanao. They were promised jobs as factory workers, waitresses or sales ladies, CIDG Women and Children's Protection Desk head Superintendent Emma Libunao said in an unlikely sounding justification.
The sex workers did not voluntarily join their police 'rescuers', Libunao admitted.
It seems likely that the Philippines authorities reacted to a recent criticism of a lack of anti-trafficking commitment. The arrestees were probably just victims of an operation pandering to US anti-prostitution moralists.
When United States ambassador to the Philippines Harry Thomas Jr claimed that 40% of male foreign tourists to the Philippines visited only for sex, the off-the-cuff comment became a diplomatic incident.
Hwever, the Philippine flesh trade catering to foreigners is growing in size and sophistication and by some estimates is starting to rival Thailand as a global sex tourism hub.
Males make up over 65% of all tourist arrivals. A leaked US diplomatic cable identified a number of Philippine sex tourism hubs, including Sabang Beach in Puerto Galera, Mindoro province.
Former labor under secretary Rene Ofreneo recently claimed that the number of Filipinos engaged in the sex trade was likely about the same size as the country's manufacturing workforce of around 850,000 workers. A recent Deutsche Welle special report
claimed that the Philippine sex industry was the fourth-largest contributor to gross national product (GNP).
Economists say that entrenched poverty, where nearly 40% of the population lives on less than US$2 per day according to Asian Development Bank statistics, is a major push factor into the trade. Policy think-tank Ibon Foundation recently recommended
that the government focus on sustainable poverty reduction and additional investments in public education, health, housing and infrastructure to curb the burgeoning sex trade.
Many young Filipino girls end up in so-called KTV bars, nightclubs, restaurants and massage parlors, a number of which are fronts for prostitution dens where customers can have sex for a fee ranging from US$20 to $50. Cash-strapped students are also
turning to prostitution to pay their tuition bills or earn extra money to cover their weekly expenses, according to Asia Times Online interviews. Internet-based sexual services are also extending the trade into once remote rural areas.
Activists against the trade, meanwhile, are fighting a losing battle. The most difficult part is bringing people out of it or deterring others from joining it, said Ostrander. He said one of the most challenging issues of combating sex tourism
is providing those in the industry with real options for other work. Can we offer them jobs?, he asked rhetorically. Unfortunately, the answer is no.
The Philippines Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has endorsed a bill that is pending in committee in the House of Representatives which would decriminalize prostitution but punish those who control and profit from the flesh trade.
The Anti-Prostitution Bill pending in the House committee on justice seeks to repeal the clauses under Articles 202 and 341 of the Revised Penal Code which punish women who, for money, engage in sexual intercourse, or lascivious conduct.
Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Dinky Soliman said the bill was one of the agency's priority pieces of legislation. The DSWD, however, clarified that it did not support the legalization of prostitution in the country.
Soliman said the bill would provide social protection to the victims and ensure the prosecution of persons who control and profit from the trade by exploiting the victims' poverty. The bill would also offer programs and services that would promote
their economic well-being.
We all know that most, if not all, prostituted persons are forced to engage in this activity because of compelling reasons such as poverty if they are not victims of human trafficking. The government will continue to provide programs
and services to uplift their economic well-being.