REPORT A PEDO: Draft Cebu ordinance to require hotel, resort workers to alert police about guests checking in with minors in tow
Hotel staff who notice suspicious-looking guests bringing in minors to their establishments in Cebu will soon be required by law to alert authorities of their presence.
The Cebu Provincial Board on Monday passed on second reading a proposed Anti-Child Sex Tourism Ordinance meant to add teeth on measures to fight child abuse and human trafficking in the province after the United Nations identified the Philippines as among the “prime sex tourism destinations in the world”.
Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale, who authored the proposed ordinance, also wants the PB to declare every first week of October “Anti-Child Sex Tourism Week”.
Legislators hope the proposed 2014 Anti-Child Sex Tourism Ordinance of the Province of Cebu would eradicate child sex tourism in Cebu.
“The rising influx of tourists in Cebu is a highly welcome and desirable economic development but sexual abuse and exploitation of children perpetrated by tourists can never be countenanced,” Magpale said in explaining her proposed measure.
According to the draft law, establishments should “notify or submit a written report on guests checking in or staying with minors” to the Women and Children’s Protection Desks (WCPD) of the local police.
Establishments are also required to make available copies of security camera footage to law enforcement units investigating a suspected child abuse or human trafficking case.
Violators of the proposed ordinance will face one-year imprisonment or a fine of P5,000 aside from other penalties prescribed by other laws.
In recent years, a number of arrests have been made by the police in cooperation with non-government organizations (NGOs) in incidents related to child sex trafficking and cyber pornography, including the arrest of Australian national Peter James Robinson.
Robinson was apprehended by police in a resort in Cordova town last June 24.
The Australian, who resides in Metro Manila, had invited children from Lapu-Lapu to the resort for the weekend, where he allegedly sexually exploited 11 girls and four boys.
Cordova Home Village Resort manager Edeliza Hansen, who was invited by the PB in one of their sessions to shed light on the incident, said workers at the resort did not suspect anything amiss because some of the children were accompanied by their parents.
Hotel, Resort and Restaurant Association of Cebu (HRRAC) president Cenelyn Manguilimotan said the mere presence of the foreigner with several local children not related to him was one of several “red flags.”
Under the proposed ordinance, no person shall “organize, promote or conduct a sex tour or travel package involving a child” and use him or her for sex-related conduct or behavior.
Including sex in tour or travel packages is also banned as well as “selling, trade, barter, offer or giving a child to any tourist for sex.”
It defined a “child” as any person below 18 years of age. The child could also be older but “incapable of protecting himself or herself from abuse, neglect, cruelty, exploitation and discrimination due to physical and mental disability.”
It also disallows the hiring of minors to work in a tourism or commercial-related job that may lead to sex tourism or exploitation.
Asking a minor to perform lascivious or lewd shows before any electronic audio-video device is also prohibited under the draft ordinance.
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