De Lima airs alarm over rising number of foreign sex workers in PH

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Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has expressed concern over the increasing number of foreign sex workers in the country even as she called on authorities to intensify its crackdown against human trafficking syndicates.

De Lima, a former justice secretary, raised the alarm following the recent rescue of several foreign women who were forced to work as bar girls and sex workers in nightclubs and bars in various parts of the country.

“It is imperative for the authorities to step up their campaign against syndicates trafficking foreign women into the country and forcing them to work as sex workers. We cannot let this practice to continue,” she said

Two Chinese nationals were recently arrested and six Vietnamese nationals were rescued during an anti-human trafficking entrapment and rescue operations in Makati City.

On Aug. 29, elements of the Manila Police District (MPD) have arrested nine Russian women and one Kazakh woman working as ‘bar girls’ at a Malate nightclub for lack of work and health permits.

Police also rescued six female Chinese nationals and their supposed handler during a raid of a prostitution den in Lapu-Lapu City last Aug. 27 following a tip from an informant who noticed the frequent visits of foreigners in the area.

The lady Senator from Bicol called on Philippine National Police (PNP), National Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Immigration (BI) to closely work together to put a stop to this illegal activity.

“If not acted upon immediately, the Philippines could become the next haven for trafficking and prostitution of foreign women,” warned De Lima, a social justice and human rights champion.

During his term as justice secretary, she also acted as chairperson of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) which spearheads the country’s campaign against all form of human trafficking.

Under De Lima’s leadership, the country earned a Tier 1 Status in the annual United States Trafficking in Persons Report in 2016 for having “fully met the minimum standards in eliminating human trafficking in the country.”

In the previous 17th Congress, De Lima pursued her advocacy against human trafficking by filing Senate Resolution 1038 calling for an inquiry into the reported human trafficking operations at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

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