Bar dancers tell life tales-A A +A
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
DESPERATE to feed her two daughters, aged five and two, Olivia (real name withheld) worked as a house help. But she only lasted for 15 days because the pay was small and her workload was “very heavy.”
“I am the breadwinner of my daughters because their father can’t support them, because he is a drug addict and we have already separated for a long time now,” she said in her affidavit.
Last Aug. 10, the 22-year-old mother applied for a job at the Pussycats bar. She was accepted and worked the following night.
“I honestly thought that the job opening was for a waitress. I was shocked to find out after arriving on my first day of work that my position was as a dancer/entertainer.
Because of my financial situation, I did not object,” she said. Olivia was one of the women rescued by the Regional Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force (RAHTTF) 7 from two bars in Cebu City last Saturday night.
The Cebu City Prosecutor’s Office charged suspected Pussycats bar pimps Marycris Brigole, 23; Maria Kristine Noquera, 24; and Janice Cabardo, 26, with qualified trafficking case in court.
The same complaints were also filed against Charo Palima, 33; Crisanta Caramelo, 28; and Marcia Damo-ag, 37, of Club Temptation.
No bail was set for the accused, after they opted not to file their counter-affidavits.
The police charged Pussycats bar owners American national Matthew Gerard Davies and Australian national Robert Andrew Walton. Club Temptation owners Roger Tanjen and Roger Bjorkelund, who are both Norwegian nationals, and their Filipina partner, Ruby Almendras, were also named in a separate complaint.
But the complaints against the owners will undergo preliminary investigation because they were not caught during the raid.
A preliminary investigation is “an inquiry or proceeding to determine whether there is sufficient ground to get a well-founded belief that a crime has been committed and the respondent is probably guilty thereof, and should be held for trial.”
In her affidavit, Olivia said that her parents are unemployed and she has eight siblings.
Her story is similar to that of her fellow dancers Gloria, 21, and Jen, 21, (real names withheld).
They said their family is big, they have children born out of wedlock and they dropped
out of school.
Olivia, Gloria, and Jen said they began working as Pussycats dancers last August.
For Gloria, she said she quit high school after her pregnant mother suffered an injury
while washing clothes. Her father died when she was just 12.
The mother of three kids worked for ten months as a salesgirl in 2008. The following year, she began dancing for two nightclubs.
Gloria said she was a dancer in a bar near Pussycats from November 2011 until December 2012. She has a live-in partner, whose income is not enough to support them.
Meanwhile, Jen’s failure to secure a high-paying job forced her to work again for Pussycats last August. She said she was a dancer in the said bar for a week in 2010.
The victims said their salary is P200 per night and they earned a P50 commission per ladies’ drink ordered by their customers. They danced on stage at least four times.
Pussycats, they said, had a gimmick called “Play With My Balls.”
A customer, who is willing to play the game, is told to buy 15 ping-pong balls for P300.
He would then go to the loft and let the dancers gather on the lower floor.
The girls would scamper to get the balls thrown by the customer at them because a ball is equivalent to P10.
“The customers laughed at us, while we tried to outrun other girls just to get the balls,” said Jen.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 26, 2013.