German nabbed for travelling with minor not related to him
A German tourist said he didn’t know that there was a law against accompanying minors when you’re not related to them.
Herbert Major was arrested by police last Tuesday in San Remigio town, north Cebu. He was traveling with a 14-year-old girl and was about to board a ferry bound for Bantayan Island.
They were stopped at the Hagnaya port by members of a help desk for anti-human trafficking.
The German arrived at the wharf with the girl on a black motorcycle driven all the way from Lapu-Lapu City.
Major, who is a forester from Stuttgart, Germany, spent the night in jail and was moved yesterday to the Cebu Provincial Police Office in Cebu City yesterday. After getting in touch with the German consulate, he secured the services of a lawyer.
Major said he had no bad motives toward the girl and was “like a grandfather” to her. He said he has been assisting her impoverished family since last year by sending the teenager to school and four other siblings, and giving financial aid to the parents.
The girl, who is from barangay Maribago, Lapu-Lapu City, is the eldest of 11 children.
“Ignorance of the law excuses no one,” said Senior Supt. Noel Gillamac, Cebu provincial police director.
“There have been parents who, because of poverty, allowed their children to mingle with foreigners who take advantage of them.”
Under a special law on protection of children against abuse, it is illegal for a person to be in the company of a minor, who is 12 years or younger or a minor at least 10 years younger than that person in a public or private place unless they are related by blood, affinity or some bond recognized by law, custom or tradition or performing acts in as part of a social, moral or legal obligation.
Violators face imprisonment and a P50,000 fine. If the offense is human trafficking involving minors, it draws a stiffer penalty and is a potentially non-bailable offense.
“Why are most Filipinos always thinking about sex? I have never (abused her). I am like her grandfather. I really want to help. If you only saw their situation they are so poor,” Major said.
He said this was his third visit to the country. The first time was in Leyte where he helped in the rehabilitation of a town there after typhoon Yolanda’s devastation.
The girl is being examined by child care experts in the Pink Room of Vicente Sotto Medical Center. Her parents will be invited as well to give their side.
“The foreigner has no bad intention toward our family. He just wanted to help us. That is what we will answer because that is the truth,” the girl’s mother told CDN.
She said the girl was not really alone because other family members were joining her. They were just delayed because they were riding a public bus.
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