IACAT to ask hotels, resorts to ban Filipino minors from entering rooms of foreigners

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/15 June)– The country’s anti-human trafficking task force plans to meet next month all hotel and resort owners and operators to ask them to ban all Filipino minors from entering the rooms of foreign guests not their next of kin, Justice Secretary Leila Delima said.

Delima said she would tell the hotel and resort owners of this new policy from the Interagency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) and ask them to stop even those minors who would be accompanied by their relatives from entering the rooms of foreign guests.

“Especially the resorts, and those small hotels and inns because, in many cases, pedophiles use small hotels to cover their acts due to less strict rules,” she said.

Asked what she will do if hotel owners would refuse to heed the policy, Delima warned that “there are several ways to compel them to follow, because we can always use the full resources of government to prevent the abuse of our women and children”.

Delima also said that the IACAT would offer their personnel and agents to train hotel and resort personnel to spot probable cases of pedophilia and commission of trafficking in persons within their premises.

Vanessa J. Tobin, country representative of the United Nations Children Fund (Unicef) said that trainings have been going on only recently, and she said she hoped that more hotel and resort personnel would be trained.

The new policy came after the IACAT members scored high in arresting suspected traffickers and preventing Filipino women and children from being trafficked.

From August last year to May this year, government agents stopped 57,000 Filipino women and children from travelling with questionable travel papers and documents. Last week, about 80 women and children were forced to disembark from a plane leaving the Zamboanga airport.

During the same period Philippine courts convicted 28 persons involved in 23 cases, almost 100 percent of the conviction rate from 2005 to 2010.

She said the enforcement of anti-human trafficking laws also led to the arrests and filing of cases against government personnel, including those from the Bureau of Immigrations. These include the arrest and filing of charges in July last year against 20 immigration personnel assigned at the Diosdado Macapagal Airport, dismissal of 39 immigration personnel at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in August, and the filing of charges by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration against their superiors for alleged involvement in trafficking of persons.

An agent of the National Bureau of Investigation was also arrested for engaging in escort services, asking P20,000 per person for escorting them. (MindaNews)