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American convicted for child abuse and trafficking

December 4, 2017 · 

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American convicted for child abuse and trafficking

In 2013, the Preda Foundation facilitated a raid or buy-bust operation by agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on two sex bars then operating in the town of Subic, north of Manila. Around 16 young women and children were rescued as a result of the raid and an American, Arthur Benjamin, and a Filipino pimp were arrested, detained and charged in court for abuse and trafficking of women and children.

The rescued women and children were brought to the government-run center for women and children from which they were soon released even without healing, therapy and empowerment and allowed to go back to their home provinces. Then the agents of the American trafficker made strenuous efforts to contact them and to influence them against pursuing the cases against him. Eventually, most of the women became reluctant to pursue the case and did not attend the court hearings.

The cases against American Arthur Benjamin and the Filipino pimp would have been dismissed already if not for one minor Glean whom Preda took into its custody after she was released from the government center. Glean was born to a prostituted woman who gave her up to a pimp managing a sex bar when she was still a baby. The pimp then registered her as her own daughter. She did not get to know her biological mother and only when she was a teenager did she know her biological father. Soon, the adoptive mother of Glean began pimping her too until the Preda-organized raid.

At first, Glean did not want to stay at the Preda and she wanted to go back to the sex bar where she worked. But with constant therapy and counseling, she was soon empowered and realized she was more than just an abused child and was determined to pursue justice. The court hearings were far between. Preda requested the judge to conduct a speedy trial but still it took four years because it was resolved.

Last October 2017, Glean assisted by a Preda paralegal officer attended a court hearing during which the decision of the judge was promulgated. Arthur Benjamin and the Filipino pimp was convicted of child abuse and trafficking and ordered to pay Glean damages amounting to a total of P150,000.

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