Police urge hotels to join campaign

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Sunday, March 23, 2014


POLICE will conduct an awareness seminar for hotel and resort personnel in Central Visayas as part of their campaign against abuse and exploitation of children and women.

Insp. Sheryl Bautista, deputy chief of Regional Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force (RAHTTF) in the region, said these establishments are frontliners in the campaign.

The move came after RAHTTF noticed that trafficking operations are usually conducted in hotels and resorts.

Bautista said they want these establishments to be aware of their social responsibility and minimize the risk of them being used by criminals.

“The main reason is we want the owners, managers and security officers to help law enforcers in detecting possible trafficking cases,” she said.

Traffickers will book rooms under the guise of being regular customers to avoid detection. Their would-be victims wait at the lobby and act as check-in guests. They also wear outfits that allow them to blend in with regular guests.

Bautista said they planned to conduct the seminar last year, but it was postponed due to the series of calamities that hit the region.

RAHTTF will push through with their plan before June and will also ask the support of the different local government units.

Bautista said they have come up with a list of 100 small-scale to luxury hotels and resorts in Central Visayas, but they lack the manpower to check every hotel.

Alert

“That’s why we’re asking their help to alert us in case they know something,” she said.

Bautista said hotels and resorts will be held liable under Republic Act 10364, or the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act, if they are found out to be aware of the crime and are not doing something about it.

The establishment can also be shut down, she said.

Last Feb., a suspected cyberporn operator was arrested by RAHTTF during an entrapment operation inside an upscale hotel in Barangay Lahug, Cebu City. They also rescued a 14-year-old boy that was allegedly sold by the suspect.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 24, 2014.

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