Task force vows to amp up efforts-A A +A
Tuesday, May 6, 2014
SEVEN of the nine girls authorities rescued from prostitution last Monday were minors and the youngest was just 12 years old.
Insp. Sheryl Bautista, deputy chief of Regional Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force (RAHTTF) 7, said the other girls were aged 16 to 18.
Bautista said prostitution victims are becoming younger so they have to intensify their efforts.
“It’s alarming since children are being used. Their parents can also be held liable if they are aware of (what their children are involved in),” Bautista told reporters.
She said that since January, the RAHTTF conducted four entrapment operations that resulted in the arrest of three suspects and the rescue of 27 victims.
The girls who were rescued when police conducted an entrapment operation against Fujilito Baring, 21, inside a mall in Barangay Mambaling, Cebu City are in the temporary custody of Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) 7.
Bautista said they received a tip from a concerned citizen about Baring’s activities.
The RAHTTF monitored him for three weeks.
Last Monday, an undercover policeman posed as a client and arranged to meet Baring with some girls past 8 p.m. When Baring allegedly accepted the payment for the girls, RAHTTF operatives arrested him.
But Baring denied being a pimp. “Blind kaayo ko. Dili gyud na tinuod. Wala man gani ko kaila anang mga bayhana (I have no idea who those girls are),” he said.
He said he arranged for girls to serve as companions for tours, not for sex.
Wearing a pink dress, Baring told reporters he only went to the mall to check the legitimacy of the man who wanted to hire a group of girls at P1,000 per girl.
The police intend to file a complaint for violation of Republic Act 10364 or the Expanded Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012, a non-bailable offense, against Baring before the Cebu City Prosecutor’s Office.
Edna Regudo, social welfare officer assigned at Crisis Intervention Unit (CIU) of DSWD 7, told Sun.Star Cebu the parents of the victims have been informed.
As of yesterday, DSWD social workers were still interviewing the girls so Regudo declined to release details about the case.
Mambaling Barangay Captain Wilfredo Go said he had no idea that young women in his village are being sold for sex.
In an interview yesterday, he said he is not aware of the entrapment operation that led to the arrest of an alleged pimp and the rescue of nine girls in a mall in Mambaling.
Go said he will ask the police for the names of the rescued girls so they can locate the parents and try to help them.
He said he will ask the gender and development workers to find out if the parents know about their children's activities.
"Magsige man ta og hagad sa mga inahan na maglivelihood training unya naa may uban na mas ganahan man sila magsigeg tongits ug libak, maghuwat lang sa itunol sa ilang mga anak (We keep trying to involve residents in livelihood training but some would rather gamble and gossip, and await for whatever money their children bring in),” he lamented.
Go said he will also meet the barangay tanods to warn them on the activities of pimps who may be after other children in the village.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 07, 2014.