'XXX' probe helps pin Pharaoh KTV over sex trade

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 18 2011 10:09 PM | Updated as of Oct 20 2011 06:35 AM

8 KTV operators, floor managers charged with human trafficking

MANILA, Philippines - Operators of the Pharaoh KTV and Entertainment Center in Makati City have been charged by the Department of Justice (DOJ) for violation of Anti-Human Trafficking Law, police said Tuesday.

The charges are non-bailable, which means the 8 eight operators and floor managers who were indicted will be in jail while the trial runs, according to police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) Director Samuel Pagdilao Jr.

The raid on the karaoke bar, was made following an investigation launched by ABS-CBN program "XXX" that looked into alleged prostitution and exploitation of minors in the nightspot.

Pagdilao, in a press statement, said the case "should serve as a stern warning to other big night clubs that they would suffer the same predicament if they would not refrain from using their clubs as fronts for prostitutions and for trafficking of minors and women."

He said police are going after other "untouchable clubs" in Manila, Quezon City, Pasay City, and in Parañaque City.

In a DOJ resolution dated October 4, 2011, Prosecutor General Claro Arellano approved the recommendation of Task Force on Anti-Trafficking in Persons chairperson, Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Joselita Mendoza, to charge the Pharaoh KTV operators and managers with violation of Republic Act 9208.

Section 6(c) of RA 9208 considers trafficking as qualified when the crime is committed by a syndicate or in large scale. The law further states that trafficking is deemed committed by a syndicate if it is carried out by a group of 3 or more people, the CIDG chief said.
 
The KTV bar's floor managers, who were all identified by the victims, are all liable for qualified trafficking in persons, Pagdilao added.

DOJ state prosecutors said after a examination of the entire records of the CIDG's raid at the night club at Creekside Bldg, Amorsolo corner Javier in Legaspi Village, Makati City last September 20, they found probable cause to establish that the floor managers are part of the conspiracy in Pharaoh, which maintained, hired, received and harbored the women for prostitution and exploitation.
 
The prosecutors also concluded that "extra services" in the form of sexual exploitation were being provided at Pharaoh.

"This conclusion is strongly corroborated by the video presented by the ABS-CBN program 'XXX' where it was shown that a floor manager conversed with the CIDG operatives who acted as poseur customers concerning the provision of sexual services," said Pagdilao.
 
The DOJ prosecutors rejected the defense of the accused that they should not be held liable for violation of RA 9208 because none of the victims was recruited for sex trade.

They also rejected the alibis of the floor managers that the bar's "show room" is merely a holding area.

"Most establishments that promote such crime have aquarium type rooms where women are displayed like commodities to be chosen by willing customers. Pharaoh is no different," said the DOJ prosecutors.