MEMBERS of the Women and Children Protection Desk (WCPD) of the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) raided two massage parlors for allegedly offering “extra services” on Saturday night, Dec. 14, 2019.
A team lead by Lt. Erlinda Mayam, head of the WCPD-CCPO, first went to La Esperanza Foot and Body Massage on F. Ramos St. at 8:15 p.m. where they rescued seven women. They also arrested 37-year-old Maria Nicole Dela Cruz Albarico, the manager.
At 8:20 p.m., another team went to its branch on M.J. Cuenco Ave. where six women were rescued and manager Marlene Moneba Saceda, 60, was taken into custody.
In both operations, the police were accompanied by personnel of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) 7.
Mayam said they received reports that both establishments were operating as prostitution dens, with the massage therapists offering sexual services.
They then conducted a case buildup to verify the information.
Mayam said one of the women they rescued told police that customers who wanted “extra services” paid P500 or more depending on what they wanted.
All the rescued women are 20 years old and above. Most of them reside in Cebu City, but police still have to double-check.
The WCPD sent a cop posing as a customer to both establishments. After getting a massage, they were allegedly asked if they wanted “extra service.” After reaching an agreement, they handed P1,200 to the massage therapists. The cops then signaled to team members waiting outside.
The two arrested women will be charged with violating Republic Act (RA) 9208, or Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003 as amended by RA 10364, or the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons.
Police will also investigate the rescued women with the help of the DSWD 7.
“These raids should serve as warnings that we are not letting up in our campaign against prostitution,” Mayam said in Cebuano.
Meanwhile, the owner of La Esperanza denied knowing about the illegal activities inside both establishments. (AYB / PJB)