100 women rescued from Angeles City night clubs

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MANILA, Philippines—At least 100 female sex workers, some of whom had “V” tags, indicating they were still virgins, were rescued, and five foreigners were arrested in successive raids on three night clubs in Angeles City on Tuesday night, the police said Wednesday.

The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) said joint police antihuman trafficking operatives rescued the women from the Sunshine Bar, the Blue Nile and the Golden Nile night clubs along Fields Avenue in Barangay Balibago.

“The women don’t really consider it a rescue. They kept cursing us and tried their best to escape,” said CIDG Women and Children’s Protection Desk (WCPD) head Supt. Emma Libunao, who led the raids.

She said the women were mostly from Mindanao who were promised jobs as factory workers, waitresses, or sales ladies.

Upon arriving in the city, “they would wait tables at first, then before long, they would start entertaining guests at the table,” Libunao said. She said she assumed that some of the rescued women were below 18. “They were taught to say they’re 18.”

‘V’ for virgin

Undercover agents posing as customers were even offered the sexual services of girls with the “V” label. “They called it ‘cherry popping.’ They’d say, ‘I’m a virgin so I’m more expensive.’” One of the girls said she was only 16 and asked for P100,000, Libunao said.

The raids on the Blue Nile and Golden Nile, two night clubs reportedly owned by an Irish fugitive Richard Douglas Agnew along Fields Avenue in Angeles City stemmed from the complaint of the Crusade Against Good Customs and Decency International, a nongovernment organization based in the city that fights sex tourism.

Agnew was not present during the raid, but he would be charged with violations of the Anti-Trafficking of Persons Act, Libunao said.

The raid of Sunshine Bar resulted in the rescue of 17 sex workers and the arrest of the manager, Terrence James Smith, an Australian national.

Police said Smith would be charged with human trafficking, which carries a maximum prison term of life.

Libunao said the others arrested included three Americans and a Japanese. One of the Americans was later released. With a report from AFP

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