'Menu' of women offered to Chinese through apps, senator says

Jove Moya

SENATOR Risa Hontiveros on Tuesday, January 28, said she was looking into the suspension of operations of Philippine offshore gambling operators (Pogo) because the sector has attracted criminals into the country and boosted prostitution.

Hontiveros revealed in a Senate hearing Tuesday that a "menu" of sex services, including photos of trafficked Chinese women, is circulated through messaging apps Telegram and WeChat.

"May menu of services, parang restaurant, 'yung mga babae, parang ino-order lang sa applications ng mga Chinese members ng chat group," she said as she presented the results of her investigation into sexual trafficking.

She posted a screenshot of such a "menu" on social media Tuesday.

The senator said there is a need to act on this problem while reviewing the economic impact and ensuring the protection of women and children.

"We have to take action. We need to look into suspending POGO operations because they attract criminals into our country," Hontiveros said.

She called on the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to conduct an immediate crackdown against Pogo-related prostitution in the Philippines.

Hontiveros, who heads the Senate committee on women, children, family relations, and gender equality, condemned the involvement of Filipino and Chinese women in prostitution dens catering to Chinese nationals in the country.

According to reports from the NBI, four Filipino women and 91 Chinese, who served as sex workers catering to Pogo employees, were rescued in a karaoke bar in Makati City in October.

"Pati 'yung mga sarili nating kababaihan at kabataan, nabibiktima na--Hindi pwedeng nagiging pugad tayo ng Chinese prostitution dens," Hontiveros said.

"Tatlo ang anak kong babae, ang isa menor de edad. 'Pag nakikita ko sa TV ang mga babaeng nahuhuli sa raid na punong puno ng hiya at takot, isa lang ang tumatakbo sa isip ko 'this girl is someone's daughter'. And we have failed her," she added.

At the House of Representatives, Gabriela Party-list Representative Arlene Brosas filed House Resolution No. 604 which seeks to investigate prostitution rings often disguised as karaoke bars and wellness centers. (SunStar Philippines)