An alleged prostitution den was discovered during a raid in an illegal Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator (POGO) establishment in Parañaque City on Wednesday, authorities said.
The Southern Police District and Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC) raided the POGO hub due to lack of license to operate, Nico Waje reported on Unang Balita.
“While doing the inspection, nakita nga namin iyong prostitution den (we saw the prostitution den),” PAOCC executive director Undersecretary Gilbert Cruz said.
“Kung mapapansin niyo, mayroon mga babae na nandoon and they have rooms na ginagamit nila sa prostitution (If you notice, there were women there and they have rooms that were being used for prostitution),” he added.
The women, who are all Filipinos, said they are offering only massage services.
In the parking lot on the seventh floor of the building, private rooms and spa rooms were discovered aside from computers and gaming consoles.
The operation on other floors has a license but the workers, most of them Chinese, failed to present proper documents like passports, according to the PAOCC.
Cruz said the workers said their bosses were holding their passports.
With a total of 2,000 workers, the POGO hub declared only 900 of them to the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).
Two Chinese nationals who manage the POGO hub were arrested, according to Unang Balita.
In a statement, the SPD said at least 16 employees alleged to be victims of human trafficking were rescued in the operation.
The PAOCC is looking into the possible closure of the establishment due to violations of human trafficking, labor, and immigration laws.
Meanwhile, the Bureau of Immigration is set to visit the area for the profiling of the POGO workers.
"We are committed to eradicating human trafficking and ensuring the safety and well-being of our community,” SPD chief Police Brigadier General Mark Pespes said.
“This operation reflects our unwavering dedication to combating illegal activities and protecting vulnerable individuals from exploitation,” he added.
Gov’t IDs recovered in Pasay POGO firm
Meanwhile, hundreds of government identification cards (IDs) were recovered from a POGO hub in Pasay City where an alleged prostitution den and a torture chamber were discovered.
According to Salema Refran’s report on “24 Oras,” some of the IDs were police clearances, tax identification number (TIN) cards, and PhilHealth IDs.
Also seized from the firm were alien employment permits and alien certificates of registration.
The TIN IDs were found to be legitimate and were registered in the database of the Bureau of Internal Revenue. The validity of the other IDs is still being verified.
“These are clearances or IDs na kelangan nila to apply sa passport,” said PAOCC Executive Director Gilbert Cruz.
(These are the IDs they need to apply for passports.)
“So once nakapag-apply ka na ng Philippine passport at naitago mo na ang totoo mong pangalan then you can go kahit saan dito sa ating mundo. Eh paano kung gumawa ito kalokohan sa abroad? Ang mabigat dito dala dala nya Philippine passport,” Cruz added.
(Once they apply for Philippine passports and hide their identities, they can go around anywhere. What if they cause trouble abroad? They are carrying our passport.)
A Taiwanese fugitive wanted for fraud in his country was also arrested.—Joviland Rita/Sundy Locus/KBK/LDF, GMA Integrated News