Sex den under bridge raided; 5 girls rescued
In a row of dingy makeshift cubicles under the just renovated Honorio Lopez Bridge in Gagalangin, Tondo, girls aged 12 to 17 were having sex with customers who paid them P500.
Their pimp, 26-year-old Sanny Ramos, would offer their services to truck and tricycle drivers, even pier workers looking for a “quickie” in the middle of Manila’s North Harbor, according to kagawad Francisco Castillo of Barangay 147 in Manila.
“His clients also included workers from the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority,” said Aldrin Tamboon, an operative of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (Iacat), who helped arrest Ramos on Friday.
Five of the seven girls who worked for him—mostly out-of-school youth and vagrants whom Ramos had befriended—were also rescued in the operation launched by a joint team from the Iacat and the Manila Police District’s antihuman trafficking division. The group, led by Supt. Dennis Wagas, filed on Monday an Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act against Ramos in the Manila City Prosecutor’s Office.
The Inquirer tried to talk to Ramos to get his side on the allegations against him but he refused to comment.
His arrest was prompted by a complaint filed by 13-year-old Raya (not her real name) who said that Ramos had offered her to clients at least twice this year. Once, she tried to refuse but Ramos slapped her.
“He would order the seven of us to go with his male clients who wanted sex. Sometimes, he would even ask [us] to use ‘shabu’ (methamphetamine hydrochloride)” or solvent, Raya said in a four-page affidavit.
Of the P500 paid by customers, Ramos pocketed P150 while the rest went to the girls. But when there were no customers, Ramos sometimes had sex with the girls himself.
Castillo told the Inquirer that the existence of the prostitution den—in operation for about a year—had long been an open secret in Gagalangin, Tondo. “People knew but they couldn’t do anything because the girls refused to listen to us,” he said.
There were also instances in which barangay officials who would try to stop Ramos or the girls would be threatened or get pelted with bottles.
Then there was also the problem of jurisdiction since half of the bridge was under Barangay 147 while the other was in Barangay 148, making it unclear who was supposed to police the area.
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