Cebu police bust Chinese-led human trafficking ring

Rappler.com
Cebu police arrest the Chinese leader of an alleged trafficking ring whose call center supposedly uses a dating website to promote match-making or the mail-order bride scheme

'MAIL-ORDER BRIDES.' Cebu police arrest the Chinese leader of an alleged trafficking ring whose call center supposedly uses dating website idateasia.com to promote match-making or the mail-order bride scheme in Cebu City and neighboring provinces. Screenshot of idateasia.com

MANILA, Philippines – Cebu police arrested a Chinese citizen allegedly behind a trafficking ring using young Filipino women for matchmaking and a mail-order bride scheme online.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) arrested Mei Yee aka May Yee, leader of a call center that police identified as Filipino Heart Internet Consultant. The call center allegedly used dating website www.idateasia.com “for [the] promotion of matchmaking or mail-order bride scheme in Cebu City and neighboring provinces.”

The PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group Visayas Field Unit 7 arrested Mei Yee on February 1, Saturday, along with Ligaya Vitor, manager of Filipino Heart Internet Consultant.

Officials nabbed the suspects in a compound in Banawa, Cebu City. The police also rescued 12 individuals, 7 females and 5 males.

The Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC), which supported the police operation, said in a statement that the suspects are now detained at the Guadalupe Police Station. They face charges of violating the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012.

The PAOCC said the police seized gadgets including 35 computer sets and accessories, a Macbook Air laptop, an iPad, Samsung Galax Note II, Canon and Sony cameras.

Police also seized a bundle of documents, and cash amounting to P168,500.

The arrest of the suspects comes after news reports of child pornography in poor villages in Cebu made international headlines.

Police in Britain, Australia and the Philippines cracked a pedophile ring, which streamed live sexual abuse of Filipino children over the Internet.

The abuse occurred in Ibabao, a secluded community in Cebu province. Authorities and child rights advocates said the fast-growing industry is spreading to other parts of the mostly poor Philippines, with thousands of children being abused.

The US State Department’s Trafficking in Persons Report 2013 identified the Philippines as a source country, and to a much lesser extent, a destination and transit country for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor.

The report categorized the Philippines under Tier 2 or countries whose governments “do not fully comply with the US Trafficking Victims Protection Act’s minimum standards, but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance.” – Rappler.com