Members of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) worked together to rescue two (2) male minor victims aged 14 and 15 from a child trafficker. The rescue operations team was composed of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the Department of Justice-Operation Center (DOJ-OpCen) and the Philippine National Police-Cubao Station.
Last October 28, the two male minors from Cebu were rescued from the hands of Mr. Ramil Cañete, after a call has been made by a relative of one of the victims through the 1343 Actionline Against Human Trafficking managed by the CFO. “A friend who attended a Seminar on Child Trafficking in Cebu advised me to call the 1343 Actionline”, she attested. CFO case officers together with the PNP Cubao proceeded immediately to the Crest Hotel in Cubao, Quezon City where the victims are staying with Mr. Canete.
“We were promised to work as models of a certain fashion brand, but it did not happen when we arrived in Manila”, one of the victims recounted. They were allegedly offered these jobs when Mr. Cañete met them on separate occasions in Cebu. Mr. Cañete presented himself as a talent agent and enticed them to become models. They did not suspect that Mr. Cañete had illegal plans for them. “There were five (5) of us at first whom he(Cañete) took with him in his boarding house in Cebu, but the two of us were chosen for the 'audition' to fly to Manila to work as models”, the victims testified.
Since they arrived in Manila, the victims were transferred from one hotel to another, were required to work even past midnight as warehouse delivery staff but remained unpaid, and forced to perform sexual services for Mr. Canete in exchange for their supposed daily wages. When the minors refused to work, Mr. Canete would threaten to abandon them in Manila.
On the same day right after the rescue, IACAT’s partner university, the Arellano Law Foundation through its Office of the Legal Aid, assisted in the preparation of the legal documents. After which, an inquest was conducted before the Office of Associate Prosecutor Mark Roland Estepa at the DOJ. Charges on the violation of Republic Act 9208 as amended by RA 10364 or the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act were filed against Mr. Cañete. The CFO and DSWD are providing the necessary psycho-social assistance to the victims in preparation for their eventual return to their families.
Submitted by: Commission on Filipinos Overseas
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