Saying women were like “Grabfood” being ordered in the app. by Chinese members of a chat group, Senator Risa Hontiveros on Tuesday called for the Bureau of Immigration to suspend its Visa Upon Arrival program for Chinese nationals.
“It’s like Grabfood, there’s a menu, there’s a price, then pimped women would arrive in your hotel or condo,” Hontiveros described the prostitution of women catering to Chinese nationals, of whom the majority were Philippine Offshore Gambling Operators or POGO workers.
Malacañang said the Philippine National Police should take the lead in investigating the proliferation of prostitution linked to the growing number of Chinese nationals employed by Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators.
“We will have that investigated. If that’s true, then we have to do something about it,” Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo told reporters.
Hontiveros said Chinese nationals were a security threat to Filipino women and girls.
She underscored the need to suspend the Visa Upon Arrival scheme for Chinese nationals, adding it was a scheme producing Chinese criminals in the country.
She said Filipino girls and trafficked Chinese women were victims in the recent rise of prostitution dens catering to Chinese nationals residing in the country.
“We cannot be a haven for Chinese prostitution dens,” Hontiveros said.
The Senate inquiry also exposed a menu of sex services, including photos of trafficked Chinese women that were passed around through messaging apps Telegram and WeChat.
The Chinese super app WeChat used the codes “new tea” for girls and “fast food” for quickie sex to evade Beijing’s sensors.
In another chat group, a woman, seemingly new to the prostitution den, was even described as a “new car” to customers.
“There’s a menu of services like a restaurant,” said Hontiveros, chairman of the Senate committee on women, children, family relations and gender equality who conducted the hearing on POGO-related sex activities.
She said the messages on the app used by Chinese nationals disclosed the services offered that were primarily sexual in nature.
Some offer Chinese women for P10,000 per hour and Russian or Korean women overnight for P32,000 and P45,000, Hontiveros said, presenting screenshots from the alleged chat groups.
The senator also urged the National Bureau of Investigation and the Philippine National Police to conduct an immediate crackdown on POGO-related prostitution dens across the Philippines.
She said she was studying the possibility of suspending all POGO operations in the country while reviewing the economic implications as well as ensuring that there were safety nets in place to protect Filipino women and children.
“We need to act. We need to look into suspending POGO operations because they attract criminals into our country,” Hontiveros said.
Among those rescued during a raid on suspected prostitution den disguised as massage facilities was 15-year- old Karina who testified in the hearing.
Karina told the Senate panel she was kept by a Chinese national in a house in Makati. She primarily serviced a Chinese clientele and was paid at least P6,000 per job, an amount that increased if they were asked to spend the night or perform extra services, but half of which went to their Chinese handler. She also recalled having Japanese, Korean and Indian clients.
She said the youngest of some nine girls in the Makati City massage parlor was 14-year-old Shaira.
Some of the girls, including Shaira, left the massage parlor in September last year when she got sick, Karina said.
“They had Shaira treated but she escaped because she couldn’t take it anymore. Even while she was sick, they still pimped her,” she said. With MJ Blancaflor