Senators inspect ‘prostitution den’ in Pasay Pogo hub
MANILA, Philippines — Senators on Friday inspected a Philippine offshore gaming operator (Pogo) firm over allegations that it was operating as a front for various crimes.
The firm particularly has been accused of engaging in activities such as prostitution, human trafficking, torture, kidnapping for ransom, and online scams.
Senators Risa Hontiveros and Win Gatchalian led the ocular inspection of Smart Web Technology Corporation — an internet gaming licensee of the Philippine Amusement Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) located in Pasay City.
Hontiveros said visiting the place is necessary to “understand the scale of the problem.”
On October 27, agents of the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission and the Department of Justice initially raided the Pogo hub.
The raiding team then discovered that the firm houses an “aquarium-style” viewing chamber, an alleged torture chamber, and massage parlors reportedly being used for prostitution.
After the inspection of the hub, a public hearing will be conducted by the Senate committee on women, children, family relations and gender equality headed by Hontiveros.
The probe was prompted by Hontiveros’ privilege speech on human trafficking delivered in November 2022 and two resolutions separately filed by Senators Grace Poe and Gatchalian.
Among the issues expected to be addressed are the following:
- Termination of operation of scam hubs in the Philippines to protect citizens and foreign nationals from human trafficking schemes
- The necessity of law enforcement agencies to intensify operations against human trafficking
- Amendment of Anti Trafficking Law
- Determination of lapses and loopholes in government processes that led to the facilitation of human trafficking
- Crafting of policy recommendation necessary to combat human trafficking
The need to review was prompted by Pagcor’s inability to regulate operations, thus failing to abate the commission of crimes perpetrated by its internet gaming licensees.