Ninety-five women were rescued and at least seven suspected members of a human trafficking syndicate were arrested Monday by members of the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC) in Lingayen, Pangasinan.
Authorities said the human trafficking ring recruits Filipino women to work as online prostitutes for Japanese men. The PAOCC-initiated operation was conducted by joint operatives of the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) and the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) in coordination with the local police, the Department of Social Welfare and Development and barangay officials.
Arrested were Japanese Takayuki Umeda, Erlinda Tandoc, Leonora Ceralde, Josephine Gille, Rafael Tandoc, and two still unidentified Japanese nationals.
The operatives raided the office of Kame Hachi Corp. operated by Umeda following a month-long investigation. Seized during the operation were 99 computers, seven laptops, a magnum caliber, and a safety deposit box containing P692,520.
Chief Supt. Reginald Villasanta, PAOCC executive director, said Umeda, the suspected leader of the syndicate, and his group reportedly recruited young females via social media, job fairs, walk-in applications, and pimps.
“The recruits were supposedly employed as English language tutors to search and befriend male Japanese clients through social networking sites like Facebook and Skype,” Villasanta said.
He said Japanese men were then encouraged to enroll in the English classes offered by the company through its English Tutorial Services Provider that maintains a website.
“As part of the group’s modus operandi, the hired English tutors chat with male clients and sprinkle the conversation with sex to convince them to travel to the Philippines,” Villasanta said.
He added that Umeda has a history of illegal recruitment activities in the past.