Labella to issue cease and desist order against KTV bar if proven it hired minors
CEBU CITY, Philippines—The KTV bar along General Maxilom Avenue, where 11 minors were among those rescued during a raid late night on Saturday, August 17, could be closed down if proven it had committed violations.
Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella made this statement in reaction to reports that minor girls aged as young as 15-years-old were among those rescued by the police and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) from a KTV bar that allegedly doubled as a prostitution den.
“By all means, they should be punished. I will have that investigated by the city attorney. And if found that there’s a liability on the part of KTV (bar), I will issue a cease-and-desist order,” Labella said.
Labella also urged KTV bar operators to observe the rule of law and refrain from hiring minors. “When you operate, see to it that you do it within the parameters of the our laws,” the mayor said.
According to Labella, he will reconvene the Cebu City Anti-Indency Board to oversee the operation of KTV bars and other entertainment joints in the city.
A study conducted on trafficking in persons in Cebu City from 2010 to 2017 showed that prostitution and sexual exploitation remained the the most prevalent among human trafficking cases. The study called “Trafficking in Persons in Cebu City, Central Philippines” by Mike Dela Cerna, Regina Mae Ferrer and Ferdinand Abocejo was presented during the 2017 Cebu and International Conference on Studies in Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities.
It says that the number of teenagers, aged from 15-17 years-old, accounted for 12 percent of the total number of trafficked persons.
“Although trafficking of minors manifested a declining trend, this is still alarming as it indicate continued trafficking among teenagers in the study area,” it was noted.
To combat human trafficking, Congress passed Republic Act 9208 or the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003 and Republic Act 10364 or the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act.
The latter imposed a heavier punishment of 20 years imprisonment with a fine of P1 million to P2 million for acts of trafficking.
The penalty for acts promoting trafficking include 15 years imprisonment and fine of P500,000 to P1 million; and for qualified trafficking (life imprisonment with a fine of P2 million to P5 million).
The Cebu City Sangguniang Panlunsod also passed Ordinance No. 2163 or the Cebu City Anti-Trafficking in Persons Ordinance. | dcb
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