human trafficking - updates

Rappler's latest stories on human trafficking

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Online sex trafficker arrested in Antipolo

Nov 09, 2019 - 2:15 PM

Police rescue 5 children from the scene during the operation

Vietnam 'strongly condemns' human trafficking after UK truck tragedy

Nov 02, 2019 - 2:38 PM

Officials are now working to identify the victims after DNA samples were collected from families in Ha Tinh and Nghe An provinces in central Vietnam

FEARED DEAD. A portrait of 26-year-old Pham Thi Tra My, who is feared to be among the 39 people found dead in a truck in Britain, is kept on a prayer altar inside her house in Vietnam's Ha Tinh province on October 26, 2019. Photo by STR / AFP

Vietnam arrests 2 in UK truck death investigation

Nov 01, 2019 - 11:18 PM

Vietnam says two people were arrested for alleged involvement in the case, which has exposed the dangers of illegal people-smuggling from Vietnam to Europe

5 suspected online sex traffickers arrested in Biliran

Oct 11, 2019 - 8:27 PM

Aside from 5 teenage victims, police have also rescued a 10-month-old, an 11-month-old, and two 2-year-old children who were possibly exploited by the traffickers

Saved at the last minute: SC allows Mary Jane Veloso to testify in local case

Oct 11, 2019 - 3:54 PM

(3rd UPDATE) The OFW's lawyers hope this can play a significant role in removing her from death row in Indonesia for drug trafficking charges

VELOSO CASE. Migrante with the mother of OFW Mary Jane Veloso, Celia, Celia Veloso, march towards the Court of Appeals in Manila on January 25 to encourage the court to allow Veloso to give her testimony while inside the Indonesian jail. Photo by Ben Nabong

Duterte wants tougher sanctions for child traffickers

Sep 28, 2019 - 7:00 AM

Amending the Expanded Anti-Trafficking of Persons Act is among the 'top legislative priorities' of President Duterte, says Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles

BIG ARREST. This is the biggest arrest since the creation of the Philippine Internet Crimes Against Children Center, which coordinates Philippine authorities with international law agencies.

Philippines, UAE sign pact vs human trafficking

Sep 27, 2019 - 9:01 PM

The agreement seeks to combat human trafficking and ensure the protection, rescue, and rehabilitation of victims

SIGNED AGREEMENT. Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr and UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan sign an MOU combatting human trafficking. Photo from the Department of Foreign Affairs

SC asked to rule as clock ticks on Mary Jane Veloso local trial

Sep 26, 2019 - 7:12 PM

If the SC does not hand down a ruling before October 28, the prosecution would be forced to wrap up its case against Veloso's recruiters without presenting her as witness

#LETMARYJANESPEAK. Mary Jane Veloso's family is counting on the Supreme Court to allow the OFW to testify in a local human trafficking trial. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

Eritrean wins asylum in Italy after mistaken trafficking charges

Aug 06, 2019 - 9:32 AM

Carpenter Medhanie Tesfamariam Berhe is arrested in Sudan in 2016 on suspicion of being at the heart of one of the world's largest migrant trafficking networks

MISTAKEN IDENTITY. A man believed to be Eritrean Medhanie Yehdego Mered, the head of one of the largest migrant trafficking networks, but claims his identity has been mistaken and to be Medhanie Tesfamariam Behre, is pictured during a session of his trial at the Court of Palermo in Sicily on February 14, 2019. File photo by Andreas Solaro/AFP

2 U.S. Marines arrested for migrant trafficking

Jul 10, 2019 - 2:02 PM

They are charged with having transported 3 undocumented migrants about 6 miles over the border

Lumad rescued from 'slavery' in Pangasinan back home

Jul 10, 2019 - 12:36 PM

The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples will file human trafficking cases against the recruiters of the Lumad, and unfair labor practices against the 'abusive' employer

Photo by Bobby Lagsa

Operation Nemesis: Investigating the exploitation of Filipinas in Czech Republic

Jun 08, 2019 - 5:27 PM

According to the investigation, once the Filipinas reached the Czech Republic, the conditions they were promised suddenly changed

JODELYN. Jodelyn, a 38-year-old Filipina, works 6 days a week for minimum wage. Photo by Michaela Danelová/iROZHLAS.cz

Apps, social media fuel 'booming' online prostitution – study

Jun 05, 2019 - 1:50 PM

The organization calls on authorities to 'mobilize social networks' and hold accountable websites which profit from online prostitution


Money for drugs, human trafficking coursed through PH banks – AMLC

May 23, 2019 - 1:35 PM

The Anti-Money Laundering Council finds 161,650 suspicious transactions totaling P17.9 trillion from 2013 to 2017. The amount was used to fund crimes like illegal drugs, human trafficking, and terrorism.

Bangladesh rescues 23 Rohingya girls from traffickers

May 12, 2019 - 6:57 PM

Police says human traffickers promise jobs in Malaysia for the 23 teenage Rohingya girls

SAFETY. Rohingya refugees walk back to their tent during dusk at the Kutupalong refugee camp. File photo by Dibyangshu Sarkar/AFP

Computer technician gets life term for online trafficking in Pampanga

Apr 13, 2019 - 1:40 PM

Judge Katrina Nora Buan-Factora does not give merit to the defense of Christian Chaneco that he just did his job as a computer technician and acted upon the order of his clients

GUILTY. Christian Chaneco, 26, breaks down after hearing his life sentence. Photo courtesy of International Justice Mission

Indonesian police arrests 7 in 'record' human trafficking bust

Apr 10, 2019 - 7:58 AM

The alleged traffickers are suspected to have sent some 500 victims to work as domestic helpers in Morocco, 220 to Turkey, 300 more to Syria and another 200 to Saudi Arabia between 2018 and this year

RECORD BUST. Suspects face the wall during a press conference by Indonesian officials in Jakarta, on April 9, 2019, about trafficking-related offenses. Photo by Bay Ismoyo/AFP

4 arrested for human trafficking in Cagayan de Oro

Apr 03, 2019 - 3:33 PM

NBI Region 10 Director Patricio Bernales says 10 people – 7 of them minors – were rescued in an operation at a Cagayan de Oro hotel

In Italy, arrests aplenty but top people smugglers remain elusive

Mar 19, 2019 - 3:12 PM

Although dozens of people smugglers have been jailed, most are like Cheikhaya Dieng, a Senegalese man forced to steer the rubber dinghy that brought him to Italy

FORCED. Ivorian Fofana Lamine, 25, Gambian Cherno Jallow, 22 and Senegalese Cheikhaya Dieng, 26, who all finish a 44-month jail sentence in Italy after people smugglers forced them to navigate boats across the Mediterranean, pose after an interview with AFP on February 15, 2019 at the theater hall of the 'San Giuliano' prison in Trapani, southern Sicily. Photo by Andreas Solaro/ AFP

Taiwan arrests 7 over Vietnam group disappearances

Jan 22, 2019 - 3:28 PM

Prosecutors are investigating those arrested – including 3 Taiwan-based Vietnamese suspected of being the ring masterminds – for violating immigration, human trafficking and other laws

ARRESTED. Taiwan immigration officers escort 3 detained men (with masks), believed to be some of the 152 Vietnamese who went missing after arriving on the island, into a vehicle outside the immigration offices in New Taipei City on December 28, 2018. File photo by Hsu Tsun-hsu/AFP

'Vast areas of impunity' for people trafficking – U.N. report

Jan 07, 2019 - 7:54 AM

The report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime says people traffickers are getting away with a range of crimes, from sexual exploitation to organ removal

PEOPLE TRAFFICKING. Image from https://twitter.com/UNODC

Satur Ocampo, France Castro face kidnapping, human trafficking charges

Nov 29, 2018 - 2:00 PM

(5th UPDATE) Police base the charges on the presence of 14 minors in the vehicles of the National Solidarity Mission, which had among its delegates former Bayan Muna representative Satur Ocampo and ACT Teachers Representative France Castro

ARRESTED. Mugshots of former Bayan Muna Representative Satur Ocampo and ACT Teachers Representative France Castro at the Talaingod Police Station. Photo courtesy of Police Regional Office 11

Spain set for verdict in first 'stolen babies' trial

Oct 08, 2018 - 11:34 AM

Eduardo Vela, an 85-year-old former gynecologist who used to run a clinic, is the first to stand trial for alleged involvement in the baby trafficking

5 Filipinas escape alleged human trafficking operation in Sabah

Aug 20, 2018 - 9:11 PM

The women are smuggled into Sabah and forced to work as waitresses, domestic workers or as bar girls. They eventually flee on a speedboat and are rescued by the police and Philippine Coast Guard near the border of Sandakan and Taganak.

PH meets U.S. standards vs human trafficking for 3rd consecutive year

Jun 29, 2018 - 11:39 AM

The Philippines retains its Tier 1 status in the US State Department's annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report

Secretary of Foreign Affairs Alan Peter S. Cayetano and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warmly greet each other at the US Department of State on 21 June 2018. Looking on are Philippine Ambassador Jose Manuel G. Romualdez and Assistant Secretary for American Affairs Maria Lumen Isleta.

STOLEN: Pretty Girls

Jun 26, 2018 - 12:32 PM

They were groomed, abused, and sold online. Now the children tell their story.

Cagayan de Oro court convicts Australian pedophile Peter Scully

Jun 13, 2018 - 3:47 PM

(UPDATED) Peter Gerard Scully is found guilty of human trafficking and rape for using children below 12 years old – including a one-year-old – in his cybersex operations

Photo by Bobby Lagsa/Rappler

CA again blocks Mary Jane Veloso's testimony from jail in case vs recruiter

Jun 08, 2018 - 2:23 PM

(UPDATED) The Court Of Appeals says the government must request Indonesia to allow the incarcerated Veloso to go to the Philippines and testify in courts here

Militant group Migrante with the mother of OFW Mary Jane Veloso, Celia, march towards the Court of Appeals in Manila on January 25 to encourage the court to allow Veloso to give her testimony while inside the Indonesian jail. Photo by Ben Nabong

Malaysia halts people-smuggling ship bound for Australia, New Zealand

May 06, 2018 - 5:10 PM

(UPDATED) Authorities find 127 Sri Lankans aboard the ship, and arrest 16 people allegedly involved in an international human trafficking network

Backpage co-founders, executives indicted on prostitution charges

Apr 10, 2018 - 9:18 AM

The website, known as the world's biggest website for prostitution, 'will no longer serve as a platform for human traffickers to thrive,' FBI Director Christopher Wray says

BACKPAGE.COM. The website, criticized as the biggest prostitution website in the world, is seized by the FBI. Screenshot from backpage.com


FBI shuts down sex classifieds giant Backpage

Apr 07, 2018 - 9:42 AM

Critics accuse Backpage.com of being the biggest website for prostitution in the world

Hawaii NGO accuses Quiboloy foundation of fraud

Apr 06, 2018 - 11:45 AM

In an email to Rappler, Pastor Apollo Quiboloy's lawyer responds by saying 'jealousy' can often lead groups to make 'disparaging comments about others'

FRAUD ACCUSATION. The Hawaii-based Institute for Human Services (IHS) provides a sample picture of the badge used by volunteers of Children's Joy Foundation allegedly claiming they're raising funds for IHS. Photo courtesy of IHS

SC on drug war documentation, FBI probe on Quiboloy church, Grindr on HIV data | Evening wRap

Apr 03, 2018 - 8:22 PM

Watch the evening newscast with Acor Arceo

Spain arrests 155 over Chinese human trafficking ring

Mar 13, 2018 - 8:05 PM

The arrests, which included 4 alleged ringleaders detained in Barcelona, came after a 3-year investigation, police say in a statement

U.S. bill holds websites liable for online sex trade

Feb 28, 2018 - 4:10 PM

But critics say the bill would undermine a basic underpinning of the internet, which enables websites to host information from third parties without liability


Injustice in Court of Appeals: Failing Mary Jane Veloso

Jan 25, 2018 - 9:23 AM

Philippine legal procedure is horribly ill-equipped for 21st century transnational issues like human trafficking and modern slavery, the drug trade, terrorism, regional environmental degradation, money laundering, and the legal needs of the Filipino diaspora, all of which cross state borders

'Trafficked' OFW sues for forced labor and abuse in U.S.

Jan 10, 2018 - 9:15 PM

The Velonzas allegedly confiscated Bergado's passport and forced her to work '14 hours a day and 7 days a week, for virtually no pay, for almost 3 years'

Veloso family unable to visit Mary Jane on 33rd birthday

Jan 10, 2018 - 4:14 PM

The Veloso couple says they were not permitted by the Department of Foreign Affairs

HAPPY BIRTHDAY. The Veloso family lights a birthday cake for the 33rd birthday of detained migrant worker Mary Jane Veloso. Photo by Patty Pasion/Rappler

Mary Jane Veloso's birthday wish: 'Hear my testimony in court'

Jan 10, 2018 - 11:42 AM

January 10 marks trafficking victim Mary Jane Veloso’s 33rd birthday - the 8th time she’s celebrating it behind bars

MARY JANE. Cesar (2L) and Celia Veloso, (L) parents of Filipina drug convict facing execution in Indonesia, hold a candle light vigil in front of Quiapo church in Manila on September 8, 2016, ahead of President Rodrigo Duterte's working visit to Indonesia. Photo by Ted Aljibe/Rappler

Philippines top global source of child pornography – Unicef

Dec 13, 2017 - 11:58 AM

8 out of 10 Filipino children at risk of online sexual abuse or bullying

TOP SOURCE. Unicef says the Philippines is a leading global source of child pornography.

UN to discuss tougher response to Libya slave auctions – France

Nov 28, 2017 - 7:01 AM

The UN Security Council must take stronger measures, possibly including sanctions, to put a stop to slave auctions in Libya, France says

MIGRANTS. A picture taken on November 27, 2017 shows African migrants waiting outside in a courtyard at the Tariq Al-Matar detention centre on the outskirts of the Libyan capital Tripoli. Taha Jawashi/AFP

Cybersex traders nabbed in Manila

Oct 20, 2017 - 1:36 PM

Police catch the suspects offering P9,000 to a 17-year-old girl in exchange for sex during a sting operation

SEXUAL ABUSE. Two Filipino cybersex traders are arrested in the US FBI's cross-country operation.

40 million people worldwide are victims of modern slavery – ILO

Sep 20, 2017 - 9:15 AM

7 in 10 victims are women and girls, while 25% are children

ASEAN officials begin talks to battle terrorism, illegal drugs

Sep 18, 2017 - 7:50 PM

Other crimes such as human trafficking, money laundering, and intellectual property theft are also on the agenda of the officials' meeting in the Philippines

ALL AGAINST CRIME. ASEAN senior officials join hands in a show of solidarity against transnational crime during the preparatory meeting for the 11th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Transnational Crime (AMMTC). ASEAN photo

Taytay priest in trafficking case posts P120k bail

Aug 01, 2017 - 11:32 PM

Monsignor Arnel Lagarejos gains temporary freedom after spending almost 3 days in the Marikina City police jail

TRAFFICKING CASE. Monsignor Arnel Lagarejos is accused of human trafficking after allegedly 'booking' a 13-year-old girl through a pimp. File from the website of Cainta Catholic College

Church vows no cover-up in Taytay priest's case

Aug 01, 2017 - 3:00 PM

Antipolo Bishop Francisco de Leon names tough talking retired Archbishop Oscar Cruz as lead investigator in the trafficking case of Taytay priest Arnel Lagarejos

CHURCH PROBE. Antipolo Bishop Francisco de Leon (in photo) names tough-talking retired Archbishop Oscar Cruz as lead investigator in the case of Taytay priest Arnel Lagarejos. File photo from Diocese of Antipolo

Taytay priest nabbed for 'booking' 13-year-old girl

Jul 29, 2017 - 11:15 PM

Monsignor Arnel Lagarejos has been relieved of all his designations in his diocese Antipolo Bishop Francisco de Leon says

ARRESTED PRIEST. Monsignor Arnel Lagarejos of the Diocese of Antipolo is under detention for allegedly 'booking' a 13-year-old girl in Marikina City. Photo courtesy of the Rizal provincial government

Driver charged as death toll climbs among Texas truck migrants

Jul 25, 2017 - 8:13 AM

US authorities file a criminal charge against the driver of an overheated truck found in Texas packed with migrants prosecutors say

The parking lot of a Walmart, where a truck trailer was found with 8 deceased immigrants early in the morning, is seen on July 23, 2017 in San Antonio, Texas. Suzanne Cordeiro/AFP

9 suspected migrants dead after crammed in Texas truck, 30 ill

Jul 23, 2017 - 6:14 PM

UPDATED Police are looking at human trafficking with San Antonio a few hours drive from the border with Mexico s Nuevo Leon state

Thai general among officials jailed for human trafficking

Jul 19, 2017 - 3:44 PM

UPDATED The most senior government figure among the 62 people convicted on Wednesday is Lieutenant General Manas Kongpan who received 27 years for multiple human trafficking charges and other offenses

Thai policemen stand guard outside of a criminal court in Bangkok on July 19, 2017.  Lilian Suwanrumpha/AFP