Although the initial fear that the Philippines would shut down Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) seems to have been quelled, the public scrutiny of their effect on the Philippines is still there. The Philippine Daily Inquirer reports Makati police have uncovered a brothel specifically catering to Chinese POGO employees.
Run out of a condominium building, the operation had at least six Vietnamese women in four apartments, who were rescued by the National Capital Region Police Office-Regional Special Operations Unit (NCRPO-RSOU) in an entrapment operation on September 4. The authorities allege the operation was run entirely by two Chinese women, Kuang Meiting and Li Xiumei.
During the entrapment operation, which is just the local term for an undercover operation, one woman was found sleeping with a Chinese man, and several boxes of Chinese condoms and promotion cards were found. Both the men and women were revealed to be in the Philippines on travel visas.
Police Maj. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar alleged the operation also had Chinese and Malaysia women, and catered specifically to Chinese POGO employees. Men could sign up and pay for a good time in one of the units for $86 a go, or $173 to take a girl out with them.
“We should check the increasing number of foreigners in the country so we could prevent them from committing crimes in our country, especially if it involves preying on women who were brought here to become sex slaves,” Eleazar said.
The suspects have been detained at a local jail, while the victims are having their travel back to Vietnam arranged for them.
This is a clear sign that human trafficking is a problem in the country, but not one isolated to the service of the POGO industry. Local authorities regularly raid establishments where foreign women are found offering their services, and the women are then returned to their country of origin.
Regardless, this type of story will be used as further evidence that POGOs are creating more problems in the Philippines than they are worth, and evidence that President Rodrigo Duterte should consider changing his mind on allowing the industry to continue.