LIVE: Senate hearing on money laundering, sex trafficking in POGO industry

Rappler.com

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LIVE: Senate hearing on money laundering, sex trafficking in POGO industry
The Senate probes alleged money laundering, crimes, and other nefarious activities associated with POGO operations

MANILA, Philippines – The Senate blue ribbon committee will hear on Thursday, March 5, testimonies on the possible link of the offshore gaming operators (POGO) to money laundering in the Philippines. 

In previous hearings, Senator Risa Hontiveros, committee chairperson, had vowed to “look into the possible links of POGO operations to our government officials” since an industry cannot bring “a whole spectrum of crimes into the country: illegal recruitment, illegal detention, sexual harassment, prostitution, etc,” without protection from the authorities. 

She said she would raise this concern at Monday’s hearing, the second hearing to be conducted on on Senate Resolution 131, which seeks to investigate sex trafficking, prostitution rings, and work that exploit women in the POGO industry.  

“During the hearing, we have to find out if our government officials, policemen, and fiscals are involved. We need to a stop to these crimes,” Hontiveros said.  

During the first hearing on January 28, the senator called on the Bureau of Immigration (BI) to suspend the visa-upon-arrival privilege for Chinese nationals because the scheme had “readily assisted the rise of Chinese criminals in the country.” 

This was after she established in the hearing the link between influx of POGO workers and the rise of sex trafficking in Manila.  

On Wednesday, February 12, Hontiveros presented to the media an exploited Taiwanese worker, who was rescued from her POGO employers. The woman said her abusive employers often bragged of having a protector in government by the name of Michael Yang.  

Hontiveros said her office had yet to check if the Michael Yang name-dropped by POGO owners is President Rodrigo Duterte’s former “economic adviser.” 

Bookmark this page to watch the Senate hearing. – Rappler.com 

Stories from the February 17 Senate hearing: 

Watch this for the February 20 hearing

March 2 hearing

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