4 arrested for human trafficking in Cagayan de Oro

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in Region 10 has arrested 4 people, two of them Chinese, for alleged human trafficking.

Shen Zhi Qiang and Li Qi, both Chinese, together with Joseph Uy and Janry Avelino, are accused of violating Republic Act No. 9208 or the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act, and RA 7610 or the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act.

NBI Region 10 Director Patricio Bernales said on Wednesday, April 3, that the 4 were arrested following an operation to rescue human trafficking victims at the Marco Hotel in Barangay Cugman here on Sunday, March 31. 

A total of 10 people were rescued, 7 of them minors, he added. (READ: Human trafficking 101: What human trafficking is all about)

“The NBI, along with the City Social Welfare Department (CSWD) and the city's Regulatory and Complaint Board (RCB) conducted an early morning rescue operation that resulted to the rescue of the 7 minors girls and 3 adults, and as a result, we found two pimps and two foreigners,” Bernales said.

“We recommended for the prosecution of the 4 suspects for violations on RA 9208 and 7610 at the city prosecutors office,” Bernales said.

He  added that the RCB will look into  the culpability of Marco Hotel, as it allowed minors not related to the guests to enter the establishment. 

Bernales said that the victims were in the custody of the CSWD.

CSWD Nida Paña, assistant city social development officer said that the victims were undergoing psychosocial interventions and was being housed by the city government.

Paña added that they were also looking into the possible violations of the parents of the victims. 

Felipe Alano Jr, an officer at the Bureau of Immigration (BI) city district office, said Shen entered the country on May 27, 2018, while Li arrived on March 4 this year.

Alano said that they were investigating the length of stay of Shen in the country, noting that “he already had 5 visa extensions.”

He said the BI will wait for the outcome of the cases against the two. “If the courts finds them undesirable alien, then they will be blacklisted and deported," Alano said.  – Rappler.com