Zambo woman convicted of human trafficking

By RJ Rosalado, ABS-CBN News Zamboanga

Posted at Feb 09 2011 12:35 AM | Updated as of Feb 09 2011 08:35 AM

Nation’s 1st labor trafficking conviction, lawyer says 

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – A woman was found guilty of illegal recruitment and human trafficking by the Zamboanga City Regional Trial Court 14 on Tuesday.

In a 12-page decision, Judge Reynerio Estacio found Arlene Ramos guilty beyond reasonable doubt of having been involved in the recruitment of 2 Zamboanga resident to work as house helpers in malaysia without pay.

The victims worked for 9 months in their separate employers without pay.

According to the victims, Ramos received money from their supposed employer when they were about to begin to work.

The mother of one the victims filed an illegal recruitment case against Ramos last August 15, 2005.

After more than a year, when the victims were able to return to zamboanga, the prosecution filed a separate case for human trafficking against Ramos.

Ramos was meted an 8-year prison term and was fined P250,000 for the illegal recruitment case.

She will serve an additional 20 years in prison and a P1-million fine. 

If she fails to pay the fine ordered by the court, it will be converted to imprisonment days equivalent to P8 per day.

Ramos will be transferred to the Correctional Institute for Women in Davao City

The Public Attorney's Office in Zamboanga City plans to file an appeal. 

Zamboanga City prosecutor Atty. Darlene Pajarito said the court found the complete elements of human trafficking in the case.

One is the element of deception, wherein Ramos took advantage of the vulnerability of the victims, being poor and wanting to work abroad to get better pay and a decent job.

Pajarito believes that it is the first case of labor trafficking in the country in which the accused was convicted.

There have been 38 cases of human trafficking with convictions in the Philippines. 

However, 37 of the cases involved sexual trafficking.

In Zamboanga alone, there have been 5 cases of human trafficking with convictions of the accused. The human trafficking conviction in the country was also recorded in Zamboanga in 2005.