59 convicted of trafficking in Cebu
Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon (The Freeman) - November 4, 2015 - 9:00am

CEBU, Philippines - The Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking in Central Visayas has reported a total of 50 conviction cases in Cebu out of the more than 200 cases filed nationwide from 2005 to September this year.

The IACAT-7 said there were 59 persons convicted in Cebu out of the 230 accused convicted for human trafficking nationwide. The figure does not include yet the recent convictions of six people in Cebu for qualified trafficking wherein they were sentenced to life imprisonment and ordered to pay a P2 million fine.

Three people operating the Red Lips Bikini Bar along General Maxilom Avenue were convicted on October 27 for human trafficking. On October 28, the owners and managers of Cheers Videoke Bar were also found guilty of trafficking six girls, including five minors, for prostitution and sexual exploitation.

“These perpetrators will head to prison for life for taking advantage of the vulnerability of young women by trafficking them for prostitution and sexual exploitation,” the statement said.

“For the survivors, these convictions reassure their safety. Their abusers will serve well-deserved lifelong sentences in jail and can no longer exploit others. The conviction helps survivors in their journey of restoration by closing the door on the past and allowing them to concentrate on the future,” it added.

Lawyer John Tanagho, deputy field office director of International Justice Mission-Cebu, said these convictions are sending a strong signal that no one is above the law.

Tanagho also noted that there is a decrease in the number of human trafficking complaints but likewise notice a critical trend of another type of human trafficking through cyberspace.

Rosemarie Salazar, senior welfare officer IV of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, said the human trafficking through the cyberspace is also something that needs to be abated.

“Ang kining traditional human trafficking which are committed in bars or hotels ni ubos gyud ang mga complaints ani. Pero kani committed through cyberspace, we have no data yet. Mao na nga di sad ta makasulti nga ni shift na ang human trafficking from the traditional to cyberspace,” Salazar said.

Regional State Prosecutor Fernando Gubalane, head of IACAT-7, said that the task force will continue to be vigilant in apprehending, prosecuting and eventually ensure the conviction of the perpetrators. –(FREEMAN)

ACIRC CEBU CENTRAL VISAYAS CHEERS VIDEOKE BAR DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL WELFARE AND DEVELOPMENT GENERAL MAXILOM AVENUE HUMAN INTER-AGENCY COUNCIL AGAINST TRAFFICKING INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE MISSION-CEBU LAWYER JOHN TANAGHO TRAFFICKING
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