Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Lawmaker seeks probe of Korean-owned bars in Makati

Rep. Benasing Macarambon of Lanao del Sur said there were indications that a group of Koreans, possibly a syndicate, has been engaged in the recruitment of Filipino women to work as prostitutes in Korea.

Macarambon first raised the issue at a public hearing of the House committee on overseas workers affairs wherein he shared his observations in a KTV-videoke bar in Makati recently where the women working as guest relations officers (GROs) were on “training" for jobs in Korea as “entertainers."

The lawmaker did not mention the name of the nightclub that is located in a row of girlie joints in the area. He said he went there upon the invitation of a friend.

“Ginagawang training center ng mga Korean ‘yun mga club para doon sila mag-practice magsalita ng Korea. The NBI should look into it baka may human trafficking na nangyayari rito (The Koreans make use of the club as a training ground for learning the Korean language. The NBI should look into it (because) they may be human trafficking involved)," Macarambon told his colleagues in the committee Tuesday.

“Bago sila ma-deploy they have to become slaves in that Korean club. Some of them (can) become prostitutes before they leave for Korea (They become slaves even before they are deployed to Korea. Some of them already turn into prostitutes before they leave)," he said.

Macarambon said he could not recall the name of the street where the videoke bar is located. All he could remember, he said, was that it was in a row of KTV bars with Korean characters written outside.

“I have notice that for the past years dumadami ang mga Korean national dito, yun pala karamihan sa kanila own karaoke bar (I have noticed in the past years that the number of Koreans in the country has been increasing. It turns out many of them own karaoke bars)," the lawmaker said.

During the public hearing, a representative from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) informed the committee that the government has been handling only job orders for factory workers in Korea, and not for entertainers.

Gary Martinez, a representative from the militant Migrante International said the issue about illegal recruitment of Filipinos to Korea is not new.

Based on cases referred to Migrante, the representative said many of the Filipino women bound for Korea to work as entertainers managed to leave the country with the help of unscrupulous immigration employees involved in an “escort service" racket at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport or through the airports in Davao and Subic.

Committee chairman Lagman directed Martinez to submit documentations of cases of human trafficking to Korea and promised to endorse those to the concerned authorities for appropriate action.

“This is serious issue. We will write the Justice department to order the NBI to conduct the investigation," he said. - Fidel Jimenez, GMANews.TV


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