In the Philippines, team members of online gaming operators were arrested for their participation in prostitution rings.
Three raids by the National Bureau of Investigation on prostitution dens that offer facilities to staff members of the Philippine Gaming Offshore Operators have been carried out over the past month (POGO). A Quezon City lawmaker, Precious Hipolito-Castelo, is now demanding that authorities initiate an investigation into the prostitution rings that cater to POGO workers.
“It is alarming that there are existing establishments in Metro Manila that cater exclusively to POGO workers, palpably demonstrating the situation that these workers are building a community in our country little by little”
For quite a while, this has been an ongoing issue. Most recently, three individuals were arrested at an upscale hotel in Pasay for running a sex ring. Liang Feng and Lu Fu Xing were the suspected ringleaders, and POGO's Chen Xun Bo was also arrested after being caught engaged in sexual activity at the time.
One of the rooms was stated to have been used as a "viewing space". The other three were where prostitutes would sexually communicate with customers. It is said that, for 30 minutes of service, customers charged P5000(approximately $100).
In the sting, six women were saved. As a consequence, the two leaders could face human trafficking charges.
This is only one of the stings that the NBI has carried out. The NBI rescued nearly 100 women earlier this month from a high-end karaoke bar in Makati that was being used as a front for a prostitution company. It is assumed that many of the customers are staff members of POGO.
The Philippines Online Gambling Operators
If you are not familiar with the online gambling situation in the Philippines, POGOs are the companies operating from within the county to offer gaming services to people living abroad. They carry licenses from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation to operate (PAGCOR).
There are currently 56 POGOs which have received licenses from PAGCOR in the Philippines. POGOs are hired by more than 138,000 foreign nations and over half of them have work permits. Just 17% of people who work for POGOs are currently Filipino nationals.
“This is one of the crimes related to POGO. When you bring a lot of them here, these syndicates cater to their needs”, says NBI spokesperson Ferdinand Lavin.
So while POGOs are giving the Philippines vital tax revenue, they seem to be bringing crime with them. The full extent of the POGO firms' involvement with prostitution rings will be decided by an investigation into the problem.