trafficking - updates

Rappler's latest stories on 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

Thailand drug suspects run to ground days after daring escape

Nov 06, 2019 - 11:00 PM

The couple is facing death penalty charges for drug trafficking, although sentences are rarely carried out

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

Tip from Australian police leads to arrest of online sex trafficker in Rizal

Oct 29, 2019 - 3:01 PM

The woman offers to livestream the sexual abuse of her own daughter to paying customers

EXPLOITER. Philippine authorities arrest a 45-year-old woman in Taytay, Rizal, for sexually abusing her own daughter while live streaming it to customers online on October 25, 2019. Photo courtesy of IJM

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.

Trafficked to extinction: Vietnam, Taiwan, China

Sep 27, 2019 - 10:00 PM

Despite the scale of the pangolin trade, little is actually known about it, even among prosecutors and law enforcement officials in its key market: China

ANXIETY. A pangolin rescued in a sting operation in Guangzhou, China, earlier this year. A veterinarian who has been caring for her said the death of a fellow rescued pangolin had incurred anxiety in the remaining pangolins. © Sophia Zhang

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

Trafficked to extinction: India, Nepal, Hong Kong

Sep 27, 2019 - 8:00 PM

Reporters from India, Nepal, and Hong Kong investigate the pangolin trade in their countries

A rescued pangolin at the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation near Kaziranga National Park in Assam, India. © Dauharu Baro / Wildlife Trust of India / International Fund for Animal Welfare

Trafficked to extinction: Indonesia and Philippines

Sep 26, 2019 - 8:00 PM

The pangolin trade in Indonesia has become so sophisticated that it reminds experts of the drug trade. Meanwhile, in the Philippines, the country's wildlife protection law is not a deterrent to poachers.

A Malaysia-bound baby pangolin that was rescued by police in Medan, Indonesia. Dozens of pangolins seized in the same bust were later released into the wild. Others were given to the Indonesian Institute of Sciences for research. Photo by Tommy Apriando/Tempo, Mongabay

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

Trafficked to extinction: Malaysia and Thailand

Sep 26, 2019 - 6:00 PM

Demand for pangolins has penetrated even into villages deep in the Malaysian jungle. Near the Malaysia-Thai border, meanwhile, professional smugglers are hired to send the goods across the border.

Trafficked to extinction: Cameroon and Nigeria

Sep 25, 2019 - 10:00 PM

Despite banning the trade in pangolins, business in Cameroon is still thriving in plain sight in some rural regions. In Nigeria, Chinese traders have taken over the market for pangolins.

Shadows still loom around Epstein after sexual predator's death

Aug 18, 2019 - 9:40 AM

His suicide on August 10 in a federal jail in Manhattan provided the latest jolt – but no final closure – to his disturbing story

JEFFREY EPSTEIN. The billionaire accused of trafficking young girls for sex is found to have killed himself in a high security prison. File photo by New York State Sex Offender Registry/AFP

Coroner rules that Jeffrey Epstein hanged himself

Aug 17, 2019 - 8:57 AM

The coroner's ruling comes days after Epstein was accused of trafficking minors for sex

(FILES) In this file undated handout photo obtained July 11, 2019 courtesy of the New York State Sex Offender Registry shows Jeffrey Epstein. Jeffrey Epstein is on suicide watch after he was found semi-concious in his cell on the evening of July 24. Epstein, 66, was charged on July 8, 2019 by prosecutors in New York with one count of sex trafficking of minors and one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors. HO / New York State Sex Offender Registry / AFP

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

Online sex trafficker in Cebu gets 15 years

Jul 31, 2019 - 10:30 AM

Judge Ramon Daomilas Jr orders the woman to pay fines and damages amounting to P1.5 million for trafficking at least 5 minors aged 6 to 17, among them her own daughter

SENTENCED. A woman pleads guilty to online sex trafficking charges and is sentenced to 15 years in prison. Photo courtesy of the International Justice Mission

Pacquiao wants death penalty by firing squad for drug traffickers

Jul 23, 2019 - 7:46 PM

Meanwhile, evangelical Senator Manny Pacquiao supports inclusion of plunder for crimes punishable under the proposed death penalty bill

BACK TO WORK. Senator Manny Pacquiao returns to the Senate on July 23, 2019, 3 days after winning the WBA superwelterweight from undeafeated champion Keith Thurman. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

German trafficker in Lapu-Lapu City arrested

Jul 11, 2019 - 8:23 PM

A police report says his two-year-old son was among the pornographic images found in the evidence gathered by police

TRAFFICKING. Police arrest German online trafficker in Lapu-Lapu City. Photo by IJM

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

Jury convicts U.S. sex cult leader who attracted the rich and famous

Jun 20, 2019 - 10:51 AM

The US jury convicts Keith Raniere, who coerced a string of women into having sex with him as the charismatic leader of a life-coaching group he founded in New York state

FOUNDER. Photo from the Facebook account of Keith Raniere @keithraniereofficial.

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

'Smallville' actress Allison Mack pleads guilty in sex cult case

Apr 09, 2019 - 2:23 PM

Allison Mack can face up to 40 years in prison for pleading guilty to recruiting women to join a cult-like society of 'sex slaves'

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

Korean drug smuggler arrested in Caloocan

Mar 15, 2019 - 12:00 AM

Lee Yun-sung, 49, is facing arrest warrants from at least 3 different South Korean courts for drug smuggling

Image via Shutterstock

Cops nab American expat for sexual exploitation of minors in Pampanga

Feb 20, 2019 - 2:56 PM

Pampanga police catch 71-year-old Herman Arnett Ross in an entrapment operation in Angeles City

NABBED. Police arrest American expat Herman Arnett Ross, 71, at this apartment in Angeles City, Pampanga for sex trafficking. Photo courtesy of the International Justice Mission

Drug 'godfathers' to surrender in Bangladesh

Feb 12, 2019 - 9:36 PM

Police say those surrendering on February 16 in the southeastern town of Teknaf would include drugs traders, traffickers and several 'godfathers'

DRUG WAR. This file photo taken on April 6, 2018 shows Bangladesh Border Guard (BGB) personnel laying out small bags of the drug 'yaba' recovered from a passenger bus in a search at a checkpost along the Teknaf-Cox's Bazar highway in Teknaf. File photo by Munir Uz Zaman/AFP

NBI arrests alleged drug middleman Kenneth Dong

Feb 05, 2019 - 9:36 AM

Kenneth Dong is among the personalities listed in the arrest warrant issued by Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 46 Judge Rainelda Estacio-Montesa for violating the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002

KENNETH DONG. Businessman Kenneth Dong is presented by Justice secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II after his arrest during a press conference at the DOJ in Manila on August 15, 2017. File photo by Ben Nabong/Rappler

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

Chinese court sentences Canadian drug suspect to death

Jan 14, 2019 - 9:50 PM

'The court completely rejects the accused person's explanation and defense because it is completely at odds with the facts,' says the chief judge

Chinese police patrol in front of the Canadian embassy in Beijing on December 14, 2018. China confirmed on December 13 that two Canadians are under investigation on suspicion of endangering the country's national security, fuelling tensions after Canada's arrest of a top Chinese telecom executive on a US request. GREG BAKER / 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

Mexican presidents accused as defense opens El Chapo trial

Nov 14, 2018 - 8:05 AM

Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman, one of the world's most notorious criminals, is on trial in New York after twice escaping from prison in Mexico

ON TRIAL. This handout picture released by the Mexican Interior Ministry on January 19, 2017 shows Joaquin Guzman Loera aka 'El Chapo' Guzman escorted in Ciudad Juarez by the Mexican police as he is extradited to the United States. HO/INTERIOR MINISTRY OF MEXICO / AFP

Spain police smash 'black magic' transsexual prostitution ring

Oct 31, 2018 - 11:16 PM

Fifteen young Brazilian transsexuals are rescued from a sex trafficking ring in Murcia, Spain

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

Legarda calls, quizzes gov't anti-trafficking hotline at DOJ budget hearing

Oct 03, 2018 - 6:12 PM

Because of the good answers of the call center agent, Senator Loren Legarda vows to increase the budget of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking

CALL. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

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.

USAID stands by fraud claims vs NGO Visayan Forum

Aug 07, 2018 - 3:12 PM

'VFF intentionally engaged in conduct that constituted serious violations of the terms of its agreement,' says the United States Agency for International Development

CLOSED. USAID terminated its proposed disqualification case against Philippine non-governmental organization Visayan Forum due to lack of evidence.

Mother Teresa charity shocked after India babies 'sold'

Jul 06, 2018 - 8:28 PM

'It is against our moral convictions. We are carefully looking into the matter. We will take all the necessary precautions that this kind of incident never happens again,' a statement from the Missionaries of Charity organization says.

BABY SELLING. An Indian nun with Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity hides her face as she sits outside a court under police protection before a hearing on child trafficking charges in Ranchi, in India's eastern Jharkhand state, on July 5, 2018.  Photo by AFP

Mother Teresa's charity sold babies – Indian police

Jul 05, 2018 - 11:31 PM

Police say the infant was sold to a family in neighbouring Uttar Pradesh state for $1,700 by the two suspects

Myanmar downgraded in U.S. trafficking report

Jun 29, 2018 - 7:43 PM

The annual Trafficking in Persons report says Myanmar slipped backward on its trafficked person's index to Tier 3 for failing to protect Rohingya Muslims fleeing a military crackdown in Rakhine state