The Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT), chaired by Justice Secretary Leila M. De Lima, has lauded the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City for the speedy disposition of a human trafficking case involving minors against six female KTV managers at the Metallica KTV bar in Quezon City.
Judge Roslyn Rabara-Tria of Branch 94 sentenced the floor managers to life in prison, in addition to paying monetary damages of P2 million pesos each for violating the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act (R.A. 9208).
Last August 2012, member agencies of the IACAT including the National Bureau of Investigation’s Anti-Human Trafficking Division (NBI-AHTRAD), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and International Justice Mission (IJM)--IACAT’s non government organization (NGO) member, conducted an operation at the bar located along Quezon Avenue.
Seventeen victims were rescued, eight of which were confirmed minors; the youngest was only 13 years old. The establishment was later shut down for violations under RA 9208 and other pertinent laws.
The rescued girls testified in court that while employed at Metallica KTV as guest relations personnel, models or dancers, they were required to perform lascivious acts and engage in sexual activities with customers. The girls were also instructed to lie about their real names and ages when asked.
“The conviction of the accused came in within less than a year after the rescue operation which is a testament of the government’s resolve to speed-up the resolution of human trafficking cases in the country,” de Lima emphasized.
“The continued partnership between government and law enforcement agencies is essential not only in the prosecution of these cases but also in closing illegal establishments and rehabilitating survivors,” said Atty. Nelisa Guevara-Garcia of IJM who prosecuted the case along with Former Assistant State Prosecutor Mederlyn Mangalindan of the Department of Justice. “This victory is proof that our criminal justice system can work for victims of trafficking,” Guevara-Garcia said.
In February, the government further intensified efforts to combat trafficking with the signing of the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012, strengthening the existing law.30