Vice President and Chairman Emeritus of the Inter Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) Jejomar C. Binay today lauded the IACAT’s sustained efforts at rescuing victims of human trafficking, in light of a successful rescue mission this month by the IACAT Operation Center (OpCen).

“We are serious in the drive to rid our country of human trafficking. We want to send the message that we are out to prosecute and punish those who prey on hapless victims,” Binay said.

The IACAT OpCen has reported that it has successfully conducted a rescue mission at the Area 51 KTV Entertainment Club in Roxas Boulevard. Sixty-two victims of sexual exploitation were rescued during the operation, which was a collaboration among the IACAT OpCen, National Bureau of Investigation-Anti-human Trafficking Division (NBI-AHTRAD), International Justice Mission, and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). Seven floor managers of the club were arrested.

Of the 62 victims, 19 were found to be minors. Meanwhile, 9 persons, including a Japanese national who owns the club, were charged with violations of Republic Act 9208 or the Anti-Human Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003 and Republic Act 7610 (Special Protection of Children Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act.)

In April, the IACAT has also rescued four minors from the Boholano KTV Bar and Therese/Nakamura-Sakamura KTV Bar in Tondo. Seven persons were apprehended, including the owners of Boholano KTV Bar, and charged with violations of RA 9208 and RA 7610.

All the rescued minors are now housed at the DSWD Halfway House in Marillac Hills in Alabang.

“It is unfortunate that our people, children especially, are exploited and thrown into the sex trade. This is an issue that the administration has promised to address, and we who are tasked by President Aquino to arrest this problem are intensifying our efforts at going after those who insist on engaging in slavery,” the Vice President said.

“I thank those who have helped, and continue to help us in our efforts. Sa aking mga kababayan, huwag po sana tayong mangiming tumulong sa pagsupil sa problemang ito. Huwag po tayong mag-alinlangang lumapit sa mga kinauukulan upang magsumbong ng anumang kahina-hinalang gawain sa inyong mga komunidad,” said Binay.