NBI rescues 11 human trafficking victims

MANILA — The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has rescued 11 women who are believed to be victims of human trafficking in a condominium unit in Pasay City.

NBI Spokesman Atty. Ferdinand Lavin announced in a press conference on Thursday that the NBI-Death Investigation Division (NBI-DID) was able to rescue 11 women, 9 of whom were minors and arrested five individuals during its operation in Marabella Condominium in Pasay City on Wednesday.

The suspects who were apprehended during the operation were identified as Nehemiah Jalgalado Velasquez alias “Kuya Joey”, Hillary Santos Acosta alias “Violet Sy”, Adrian Rivares Carido, Orlando Baloloy Abarca and Alex Campita Balane.

The NBI conducted a three-week surveillance after receiving a complaint from the suspects’ victim who escaped last April.

According to one of the victims, she was lured for employment as a model but was eventually exploited to prostitution to different men in exchange for money and was restrained at a condominium in Makati City.

According to Agent Ana Labao, the NBI agent assigned to the case, the syndicate operates by luring women from the province for employment using the social media.

“Sila ay nirecruit mula sa iba’t-ibang probinsya. Ang pagkakaentice sa kanila sila ay magmomodel lamang. Nung nasa Manila na sila at nagpaemploy sa mga subjects, nilako na sila sa mga customers, mostly foreigners from casinos (They were recruited from different provinces. They were enticed merely as models. When they were already in Manila and employed in the subjects, they were sold to the customers, mostly foreigners from casinos),” Labao said.

The amount per customer, according to Labao, depends on the women.

“Nagsisimula ang presyo sa halagang 15,000 hanggang 25,000. Depende sa kanilang edad at sa mga cosmetic enhancements… Kung sakaling may cosmetic surgery o nagpapaputi…Pag nagastusan na ang babae galing probinsya mas lumalaki ang bayad (The price starts at Php 15,000 to Php 25,000. It depends on their age and the cosmetic agents. If there was cosmetic surgery o whitening agent, When the women coming from the province have already incurred expenses, the price shoots up),” she said.

According to Lavin, the NBI will file charges against the suspects for violation of Republic Act No. 9208, or the “Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003”, in relation to RA No. 7610, or the “Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act”, before the Department of Justice (DOJ).

“Idudulog namin ito sa piskalya (We will file this with the prosecutor’s office). Hopefullly, we’ll able to get the successful prosecution of the case and eventually, the conviction of the suspects,” Lavin said.

Lavin also warned the public in engaging business transaction using their social media accounts.

“We are warning the public against scrupulous speakers, be careful in dealing with business transactions on the internet,” he said.

The women are now under the custody of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). PNA/northboundasia.com