Senate panel eyes probe into trafficking of Filipino women abroad
MANILA, Philippines — The Senate committee investigating the alleged immigration bribery scheme that allowed the seamless entry of Chinese nationals into the country will now zero in on another possible “revenue stream” at the country’s main gateway, this time involving the trafficking of Filipino women for prostitution abroad.
Senator Risa Hontiveros, who is leading the inquiry as chair of the Senate women committee, said Wednesday that her panel is already gathering information and have found “solid leads” regarding the outbound trafficking of Filipino women.
“Nakakabigat ng puso having to turn our eyes towards that,” Hontiveros said in an interview over ABS-CBN News Channel.
(It’s really with a heavy heart that we have to turn our eyes towards that.)
The senator’s committee initially started looking at prostitution rings catering to Philippine offshore gaming operator (Pogo) workers back in February. The investigation eventually uncovered the “pastillas” scheme.
Under the racket, Chinese citizens supposedly pay P10,000 each to get “VIP treatment” by immigration employees who facilitate their smooth arrival in the country without the proper documents.
“This is really a very cynical set-up. You have inbound trafficked women servicing these Pogo workers, you have Filipino women and children prostituted to also serve these Chinese Pogo workers and then you have the other side of that business,” Hontiveros went on.
“Itong business model talaga parang nagda-diversify. They keep developing new products and services at titignan naming sunod, at posibleng huli na, yung outbound trafficking for prostitution abroad,” she added.
(This business model is really diversifying. They keep developing new products and services and what we will look at next, and possibly this could be the last issue we will investigate, is the outbound trafficking for prostitution abroad.)
According to Hontiveros, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) will also be looking at the trafficking of Filipino women bound for prostitution overseas.
“We will do everything in our power to partner well with the NBI and the Ombudsman to put a stop on this,” she said.