Authorities said the girls, rescued mostly from the Eat Me and Mang Oming KTV bars, were working either as waitresses or entertainers.
The girls confessed to the police that poverty drove them to engage in such work even at such an early age.
“Mamatay mi sa gutom ug dili mi magtrabaho ug ingon ani” (We will die of hunger if we don’t engage in this kind of work), Grace (not her real name) told the police.
The minors are now in the custody of the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) undergoing psycho-social intervention before sending them back to their respective families in Digos, Davao del Sur and Davao City.
Thirteen guest relations officers (GROs) who failed to secure health permits from the city health office were also arrested during the raid.
Juanita Santos, chief nurse of the city health office, said a health permit is necessary so the GROs can work in the KTV bars. The requirement, she said, is to help prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.
“We already informed KTV bar owners here but still they don’t listen. Instead they continue to employ GRO’s without getting health permits from our office,” Santos stressed.“If they continue to ignore our call, we might be forced to recommend for the closure of their establishments,” she added.
The city health office was also alarmed on the reported increase in number of commercial sex workers coming from the neighboring towns of North Cotabato and nearby provinces. They reportedly work in pairs, roaming around the city at night looking for customers.
Santos urged the police to take extra effort to apprehend the transient commercial sex workers.