Room-for-rent owners warned

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Sunday, May 18, 2014


LAWYERS warn room-for-rent owners against child trafficking activities by their renters.

They issued the warning during a lecture series about child protection laws at the Department of Health Center’s conference room in Cebu City yesterday.

The lecture featured two lawyers who specialize in human trafficking and labor cases and followed the operations against a number of child prostitution activities in the past few weeks.

The latest reported case was on May 6, when nine women aged 12 to 18 years old and set to be sold at P4,000 each were rescued in a shopping mall in Mambaling, Cebu City.

In the lecture, lawyer Lovelie Faith Entoma cited sample situations for violations of Republic Act (RA) 10364, or the Expanded Anti-trafficking in Persons Act of 2012, focusing on the provisions related to child-trafficking.

Lawyer Melvin Legaspi showed seven photos of children working in varied “hazardous situations” and told the audience about the salient features of the Anti-Child Labor Act of 2003 (RA 9231).

Entoma said those who consider themselves innocent of the crime can still be held liable. Space-for-rent owners, for instance, could be indicted if they ignore suspicious activities involving their renters.

“Building or property owners who know that their renters are doing sexual exploitations but choose to still allow (the renters) to use the space may be held liable,” she said, noting a provision under section 20 of RA 10364.

While pimps are the usual subjects of arrests, Entoma said customers can also be charged.

The guilty will be jailed for 17 to 40 years and fined P500,000 to P1 million.

Legaspi cited seven worst child labor situations in the country, which include the pyrotechnics industry, domestic works in a non-relative’s house, deep-sea fishing, sugarcane farming, scavenging, illegal mining, and commercial sex.

He said that despite the danger, many children ignore the risks because of poverty.

Hazardous

He said hazardous child-labor situations exist in Cebu. “Based on my research, naa gani taxi hub diha sa Mandaue where there are minors who are made to do sexual acts in exchange for as low as twenty pesos,” he shared.

Both lawyers urged the public to report suspicious activities to the city or provincial fiscal’s office for a quicker response.

The lecture series was organized by Basadours, a non-government organization who holds informal storytelling for children in remote mountain barangays. (Daryl Niño T. Jabil, CNU Comm Intern)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 18, 2014.

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