Philippines Sex Club Crackdown Linked to US Trafficking Report

Posted June 29th, 2011 at 5:35 am (UTC-5)
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National police in the Philippines are linking a crackdown on sex clubs in a notorious red-light district north of Manila to the country's removal from a U.S. human trafficking watch list.

Officials said about 100 sex workers were rescued in Tuesday night raids on three foreign-owned sex clubs in Angeles City, the site of a former U.S. air force base. The Australian manager at one club was arrested and may face human trafficking charges with a possible penalty of life in prison. At least three customers were also arrested.

Chief Superintendent Samuel Padilao, director of the police agency behind the raids, said Wednesday that the action validates the U.S. State Department's decision this week to take the Philippines off its list of countries that fail to combat human trafficking.

He said his agency will “continuously conduct surveillance and raids on alleged untouchable sex joints and human trafficking dens” like those that were raided Tuesday.

Press reports said two of the three clubs are owned by an Irishman while the third was being managed by the Australian who was arrested.

The Philippine Inquirer said most of the rescued women came from the southern island of Mindanao after being promised jobs as factory workers or waitresses. It said some were found wearing tags with the letter “V” to indicate they were virgins.

But police superintendent Emma Libunao told the newspaper the women did not consider themselves to have been rescued. She said they “kept cursing us and tried their best to escape.”