The Department of Justice once again proved its persistency in battling the global menace of human trafficking after securing a court conviction against two (2) pimps and rescuing a 16-year-old girl from prostitution in a videoke bar in Sto. Domingo, Ilocos Sur.
In a 21-page decision released by the Vigan City RTC, the accused human traffickers were identified as Efren T. Tabieros and John Infante, manager and cashier, respectively, of Jeje Videoke Bar. The court sentenced both to life imprisonment and given a fine of P2,000,000.00. Accused were, likewise, ordered to pay damages amounting to P400,000 for violation of R.A. 9208 or the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003.
Based from the Affidavits submitted by the PNP-CIDG, authorities were able to execute successful rescue operations on Jeje Videoke Bar through an information given by the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT).
The information stressed that the 16-year-old girl was working as a bar waitress who can be “taken out” by customers for sexual services after paying the manager-accused an amount of P1,500. Police authorities who acted as poseur-customers launched an entrapment operation to personally witness the bar’s modus operandi and save the minor-victim who was discovered to be originally residing in Manila but recruited by a certain Baby Velasco.
Justice Secretary Leila M. De Lima commended Asst. State Prosecutor Mary Ann S. Parong for successfully prosecuting the case. “May this serve as a warning to human traffickers who continuously oppress the weak especially minors for their self-interest. I assure you that justice will be swift and fierce against you,” De Lima said.