Raid an exercise in futility-A A +A
Saturday, September 28, 2013
I FIND it useless for the police anti-human trafficking task force and the International Justice Mission (IJM) to continue conducting raids and “rescuing” women employed as entertainers in bars operating in Cebu City. Why? Because they don't have the support of the city government.
Besides, authorities are just making fun of those girls who sold their bodies and flesh to customers just to earn a living.
Mayor Michael Rama is acting like a spokesman of the operators of Pussycat and Temptation bars situated along Mango Ave. and D. Jakosalem streets that were recently raided by authorities, leading to the “rescue” of 43 bar entertainers.
The mayor said he couldn’t order these bars closed because they secured the necessary permits to operate, they didn’t exploit minors and they didn’t do nude shows.
I can forgive the mayor for being naïve. Maybe he does not visit establishments where dancers perform naked on stage. He likes to sing. But maybe he believes that singing without GROs is clean fun.
What does one see inside bars like those raided by authorities? You don’t see girls praying the rosary there. If these establishments offered only clean fun, why did the authorities raid them?
Yet after the raid, the mayor said the clubs can operate again because they complied with the necessary permits and didn’t commit violations. What about the “rescued” girls? They were also released and are back in the business. So the raid was an exercise in futility.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), which took custody to the “rescued” girls, admitted that this problem cannot be solved through punitive action or law enforcement alone.
Poverty is supposedly the main reason why this problem exists. But why does prostitution still exist even in advanced and economically stable nations? Because it has become a way of life. There is easy money in it. And as long as there is a demand, prostitution won’t be going anywhere.
Prostitution is a trade that virtually anyone can participate in. You don't need education. There is no age limit, no size and gender specification. There are even professionals who are into it.
I am sure those “rescued” girls mostly came from the provinces and tried their luck here in the city. They were not forced to engage in prostitution, neither were they made sex slaves.
With their lives improved, do you think they will go home to their respective hometowns and help their parents till their farm?
Lawyer Alex Tolentino, legal counsel of one of the bar owners, has a reason to cry foul. He asked why his client was targeted when there are other establishments in the area that are into the same kind of business.
Indeed, it seems like our authorities are too selective. If we want to eradicate this kind of business, then we should raid all the clubs and the city government should not issue permits to them.
Do bar owners have strong connections at City Hall that is why they have the balls to operate with impunity? Are they campaign-fund contributors of the power that be? Just asking.
Ligaya Dael, chief of the crisis intervention unit of the DSWD 7 clarified that it was not her office that advised Ruth Cormanes to solicit donations from their neighbors for the burial expenses of her mother, Casiana. Ruth, a resident of Carreta, visited the DSWD office to ask for burial assistance.
But she was denied help because of the temporary restraining order issued by the Supreme Court that froze the pork barrel of our lawmakers. She could have availed of the burial assistance of north district Rep. Raul del Mar.
Dael said it was Helen Francisco Bolabola, del Mar's coordinator, that advised Cormanes to ask donations from their neighbors. Dael said encouraging people to ask for donations is against their policy.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 28, 2013.