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VICTIMS TRAFFICKED FROM RUSSIA AND UKRAINE FOR SEXUAL EXPLOITATION.

April 25, 2014 · 

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By Erika Sauler
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

A raid on an upscale entertainment club in Pasay City suspected of
being a prostitution front led to the rescue on Tuesday night of 19
women-13 Filipinos and six others from Russia and Ukraine-believed to
be victims of human trafficking.

Dante Bonoan, chief of the Anti-Human Trafficking Division of the
National Bureau of Investigation which conducted the operation, said
the raid was based on information that Starwood VIP Lounge in the
Edsa International Entertainment Complex had been recruiting young
girls from Russia as dancers and guest relation officers. There were
also reports that its workers were offering sex for a fee.

The 19 women were rescued after they pole-danced in skimpy attire and
gave lap dances to customers during an entrapment operation. When
asked for their documents, they presented only the photocopies of
their special working permits from the Philippine Economic Zone
Authority (Peza).

Bonoan, however, said that the fact that the women did not have the
originals of their travel documents was already an indication that
they were victims of human trafficking. On top of this, they were
working in a place highly suspected of being a front for
prostitution, he added.

"They said they were contracted to engage in pole dancing. But their
working permits should be [for establishments in] economic zones or
areas accredited by Peza; clubs are definitely not included," he said.

According to him, he believed that a big-time syndicate was behind
the recruitment of the foreigners since the rescued women were housed
in separate rooms at an exclusive condominium. "Would you spend so
much to recruit them just for pole-dancing?" Bonoan asked.

The NBI took into custody several employees of the club for
questioning. The 13 Filipino women, on the other hand, were taken in
by the social welfare department while the NBI said it was waiting
for the advice of the Department of Justice's Inter-Agency Council
Against Trafficking on what they should do about the six foreigners.

Meanwhile, a lawyer for Starwood who declined to give his name
maintained that the foreigners were professional pole dancers from
Russia and Ukraine and that the club was a legitimate entertainment
establishment.

"The women have their passports but the [NBI] is making it appear
that these are being withheld by the company," he said.

Bonoan said the NBI had also received reports about foreigners
engaged in prostitution in Metro Manila and Cebu although they were
hampered by the lack of resources since it was expensive to go on
surveillance in exclusive clubs. "Our surveillance of Starwood alone
cost us P20,000 to P30,000," he added.

Read more:
http://globalnation.inquirer.net/102636/19-ukrainians-russians-filipinas-rescued-in-bar-raid#ixzz2zraN0Lud
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