Senator seeks probe on alleged human trafficking in group tours

Sen. Grace Poe (CNNPh photo)

Sen. Grace Poe called on authorities to immediately look into alleged trafficking of persons carried out by syndicates who organize foreign tours to lure their victims.

Poe said tight coordination among the police and concerned government agencies is needed amid the spate of kidnappings, including those linked to exploitation of women.

“Ang nangyayari raw, may mga turistang pumupunta rito, pagdating nila rito nakikidnap sila tapos binebenta sa isang sindikato. ‘Pag nabawi na nu’ng sindikato yung nagastos nila saka lang pakakawalan ‘yung mga turista,” she said on Thursday’s hearing of the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs that tackled the recent wave of kidnappings.

“Malaking hamon sa kapulisan natin ito kaya kailangan talaga ang koordinasyon at dapat umpisahan na nating mag-imbestiga,” Poe added.

The senator said the Bureau of Immigration should step up its inspection of foreigners entering the country to ensure they are legitimate visitors and are not trafficked persons.

Poe also urged the Philippine National Police (PNP) to work with organizations such as the Philippine Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry which recently sought the government’s help following the 56 kidnapping cases in 10 days that was reported to the group.

She said the PNP Directorate for Legislative and Detective Management also released its data showing a total of 8,525 index crimes happening from January to March this year, and another 8,469 crimes from June to August, 2022.

“Given this data, I’d like to point out that it still means an average of 15 murder and homicides, 14 rape cases, and 14 robberies occurring everyday. These are reported. Is this a normal situation?” Poe asked.

“This puts to question what the PNP has been saying in the past few days that there’s no crime hike, just hype,” she added.

Poe expressed alarm over the reported torture, intimidation and rape of kidnap victims, including foreigners. Reports have said that videos of these cruelties are sent to their families to demand huge sums of money.

“Are our authorities not worried about the possibility of escalation?” she said.

Poe said the PNP should designate a spokesperson to issue official statements and data.

“Lately, ang daming nagsasalita. The PNP should have a spokesperson.  Clear and accurate information will help solve the problem we are facing about kidnappings,” Poe said. #