Police to intensify POGO monitoring after sex trafficking reports: Año

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 29 2020 04:42 PM | Updated as of Jan 29 2020 05:45 PM

Authorities rescue Chinese women from a prostitution den in Makati in October 2019. ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The Philippine National Police (PNP) will "step up" its monitoring and surveillance of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) after a Senate probe revealed that sex trafficking in the country rose due to the influx of Chinese workers here, Interior Sec. Eduardo Año said Wednesday.

The police needs to be "proactive" in this issue because intelligence reports showed that most of the victims in Chinese-run prostitution dens are minors, Año told reporters on the sidelines of a Senate hearing.

"Ako mismo I'm going to personally direct our chief PNP to make sure that we have enough police units to do this," he said.

"Ito karamihan menor de edad na nanggagaling sa probinsya at lately, meron ding Chinese nationals na dinala from mainland China, dinala dito para maging prostitutes," he said.

Año backed calls to ease the anti-wiretapping law for operatives probing suspected sex traffickers saying investigating Chinese-run prostitution rings has been "more challenging."

"Ito yung mahirap i-monitor because they communicate just among the Chinese community," he said.

"Mas madali 'yung local kasi nare-report agad sa'tin... Pero pag mga Chinese nationals ginagamit, mas challenging," he said.

The public's help is needed to combat sex trafficking, especially while policies mandating hotels and tourism establishments to immediately report suspected sex traffickers are not yet in place, the Interior chief said.

"Meron naman tayo nahuli na even before, so ngayon i-step up natin ito. I enjoin everyone to provide us information to 8888, report to action centers ng PNP," he said.

A Senate panel earlier said it is studying the possibility of heavily regulating POGOs to ensure that "social costs" brought by the billion-peso industry do not outweigh the "developmental benefits" it provides the country.