NBI to intensify operations against sexual exploitation, human trafficking in Cebu

By: Jewil Anne Tabiolo, Paul Lauro, Pegeen Maisie Sararana - CDN Digital | March 01,2022 - 07:30 PM
sexual exploitation cebu

These are among the women rescued by the NBI in a raid of a spa and massage parlor in Mandaue City. | Photo courtesy of NBI-Mandaue

CEBU CITY, Philippines —The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Mandaue District is intensifying its efforts in monitoring  sexual exploitation and human trafficking here, especially now that restrictions in major areas in Cebu have eased.

Arnel Pura, officer-in-charge of NBI Mandaue District, said this after three individuals, including a barangay official, have underwent inquest proceedings on February 28, four days after they were arrested for alleged human trafficking violation in Mandaue City.

They were charged with qualified human trafficking.

“We will be having more (counter human trafficking operation) not only in Mandaue but also in Lapu-Lapu and our original office headed by our regional director is also monitoring activities like this in compliance with order of our Manila leadership,” Pura said.

Pura said that they were able to rescue 20 females from alleged sexual exploitation during the operation against two massage parlors located along Hernan Cortes Street in Barangay Subangdaku, Mandaue City.

The simultaneous operations were conducted last February 24, 2022, in coordination with members of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

From these two operations, no minors were rescued.

Authorities identified the arrested individuals as Jharine Sinica, who serves as a cashier of one of the massage parlors;   Joel Caparida, a resident and barangay councilman of Barangay Linao, Talisay City; and Lexie Marie Vega, who is from Mandaue and was the cashier of the other massage parlor.

Accordingly, Caparida is the one in-charge of the transportation of the victims to hotels they arrange for their clients.

Both spa parlors are located in front of each other. According to their investigation, both parlors do not have the same owners. 

“They operate as massage parlor but it disguises itself [as a] prostitution site or place where victim attendants offer sex in exchange for money,” said Pura.

Pura further said that they are also investigating the owners of these massage parlors.

Further investigation revealed that other rescued victims were able to provide their permit or certification of their legitimacy as massage therapists.

“But the majority of them do not have permits or licenses,” said Pura.

Among the 20 rescued attendants, only nine of them were originally known by the NBI as subjects of the operation.

Sworn statements were already issued by the nine recognized victims. Based on the investigation, the victims’ ages range from 20-30 years old.

Allegedly, the payment for every arrangement would average P1,700.  Pura said the price is way higher than the average massage service that would cost around P300 to P400.

“Diha pa lang, makaduda na nga why would they charge that large amount nga it only involves a typical massage,” said Pura.

(In that alone, you’d already doubt why they would charge that large amount when it only involves a typical massage.)

Pura said that aside from the two parlors involved, they are monitoring other establishments using the same modus.

He said that in most cases of human trafficking or sexual exploitation, victims settle for sexual arrangements in exchange for money because of poverty.

“Pero mao sad ang sayop sa uban, especially kaning mga operators aning establishments. They would take advantage aning financial vulnerability sa mga biktima, mao ang enticing factors para nila (victims) maong ma recruit sila ani nga klase nga trabaho,” he said.

(But that’s the mistake of others, especially these operators of these establishments. They would take advantage of the financial vulnerability of these victims, this is the enticing factor for them that’s why they get recruited to this kind of job.)

/bmjo

READ MORE: Foreign national wanted for child prostitution, abuse arrested in Cebu

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TAGS: Cebu Daily News, cebu news, human trafficking, Mandaue City, massage parlors hernan cortes, National Bureau of Investigation, raid, rescue women, Sexual Exploitation, spa in mandaue

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