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Nearly 100 Women Rescued From App-Powered Illegal Brothel in the Philippines

Most of the women were foreign nationals.

by Lia Savillo
03 October 2019, 3:54am

Photo by Volkan Olmez on Unsplash

This article originally appeared on VICE ASIA.

Close to 100 women were rescued from suspected sex traffickers yesterday after Philippine authorities discovered a brothel that booked clients through an app.

The brothel fronted as a karaoke bar in the business district Makati, where the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) found 91 Chinese nationals and four Filipinos identified as sex workers, CNN Philippines reported.

According to Romeo Astrero Jr. of the NBI Anti-Fraud Division, they found out about the place after an unidentified Chinese national tipped them off. Their operatives conducted surveillance for a week until one of them booked a Filipino woman through the app for PHP29,000 ($558.64), ABS-CBN News reported. They then stormed the bar where four Chinese men and four Filipino men were arrested for allegedly trafficking the women.

The brothel is exclusively for Chinese nationals. Clients book appointments in advance through the app and show their reservation before entering.

“You need to make a booking through a phone application. You can only go in if you have the online booking. You will be given a VIP room where you can pick between Chinese or Filipino women,” Astrero said, according to CNN Philippines.

Customers pay around PHP15,000 ($288.96) for a sex worker and can choose to bring them out of the brothel.

“Initially, they were trying to deny there was prostitution involved, but as you can see, used condoms were littered around the VIP room,” Astrero said.

Several used condoms were also found inside the restrooms, according to ABS-CBN News.

This is the third incident within a month wherein authorities rescued foreign women from sex trafficking in the Philippines. On Sept. 4, six Vietnamese women were rescued from a Chinese-run brothel, also in Makati City. Two weeks after that incident, police rescued 51 Chinese women inside a building in Parañaque City, Rappler reported.

The NBI is now looking into filing cases against the eight men arrested yesterday for violating the Anti-Human Trafficking Law and the Cybercrime Prevention Act.

Conversion rate is PHP 1 = $0.019