trafficking - updates

Rappler's latest stories on trafficking

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Child traffickers back on the streets as lockdown measures ease

Jul 04, 2020 - 11:57 AM

With Metro Manila's virus restrictions slowly easing, street pimps are wasting no time recouping losses from their COVID-induced slump

Image from Shutterstock

Prince Andrew 'bewildered' after Maxwell arrest

Jul 03, 2020 - 9:17 PM

Prince Andrew is claimed to be stonewalling a US investigation into alleged sex trafficking of minors by British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell

(FILES) In this file photo taken on September 7, 2019 Britain's Prince Andrew, Duke of York, attends a ceremony commemorating the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Bruges in Bruges. - Britain's Prince Andrew is to defer an honorary Navy promotion having stepped back from frontline royal duties over his links to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, Buckingham Palace said Friday. (Photo by JOHN THYS / AFP)

Colombia, U.S. seize 7.5 tons of cocaine near Panama waters

Jul 02, 2020 - 12:54 PM

Colombia is the world's largest producer of cocaine and coca leaves from which the drug is made, according to the United Nations. The United States is the largest consumer.

ILLEGAL. File photo of a cocaine warehouse. Shutterstock.com

Korean, girlfriend arrested for human trafficking in Zambales

Jun 30, 2020 - 2:08 PM

Law enforcers are also looking at complaints that the couple may also have victimized over 200 people from Capiz

As surrogacy booms, fears Ukraine becoming 'online baby store'

Jun 30, 2020 - 11:04 AM

In some cases parents discover they have no genetic link with children born to surrogates

Virus pandemic has led to rise in human trafficking – U.S.

Jun 26, 2020 - 10:58 AM

'Traffickers did not shut down. They continue to harm people, finding ways to innovate and even capitalize on the chaos,' US ambassador-at-large on human trafficking John Richmond

Cops arrest online sex trafficker in Taguig who abused own son, sister

Jun 19, 2020 - 2:21 PM

'One of the victims was a differently abled 27-year-old deaf female, the younger sister of the suspect and who is also the mother of some of the children rescued,' says Police Colonel Sheila Portento

SAVED. Police in personal protective equipment rescue 8 people, including this child, from an online sex trafficker in Taguig City on June 17, 2020. Photo from IJM

China sentences Australian to death for drug trafficking

Jun 13, 2020 - 3:09 PM

The man, identified by Australian media as Cam Gillespie, is handed the death penalty by Guangzhou Intermediate People's Court on June 10, according to a notice posted on the court website

Prince Andrew's lawyers deny lack of cooperation in Epstein case

Jun 09, 2020 - 12:21 AM

'The Duke of York has on at least 3 occasions this year offered his assistance as a witness to the [US Department of Justice],' Prince Andrew's lawyers say in a statement

Child sex offender gets life imprisonment for human trafficking

May 27, 2020 - 7:49 PM

David Timothy Deakin is the first foreigner to be convicted for trafficking offenses through online proceedings, according to the International Justice Mission

RAID. David Timothy Deakin is arrested in his rented home in Angeles City, Pampanga on April 27, 2017. Deakin was found in possession of child sexual exploitation materials. Photo courtesy of International Justice Mission

U.N. warns of risks for trafficking victims due to pandemic

May 06, 2020 - 7:03 PM

The UN warns traffickers 'may become more active and prey on people who are even more vulnerable than before because they have lost their source of income due to measures to control the virus'

Tip from Australian police lead to arrest of sex trafficker in Caloocan

May 06, 2020 - 10:15 AM

(UPDATED) Police rescue 3 minors, all children of the suspect

ARRESTED. Authorities with a  41-year-old women accused of forcing her 3 chilldren, all minors, to perform sexual acts via webcam. She was arrested on May 4, 2020, in Caloocan City. Photo from IJM

Korean arrested for pimping during coronavirus lockdown in Pampanga

Apr 25, 2020 - 3:40 PM

An hour-long chase ensues after a Korean national attempts to evade undercover cops who caught him pimping a woman in Angeles City

'Trapped with abusers,' 7 kids rescued from sex trafficker in Luzon

Apr 25, 2020 - 11:05 AM

'One unintended consequence of [the lockdown] is that vulnerable children are being trapped with abusers and traffickers in their homes,' says the International Justice Mission

Online sex trafficker arrested in Lapu-Lapu City

Apr 18, 2020 - 2:03 PM

Philippine authorities urge communities to be 'extra' vigilant as online sex traffickers may be taking advantage of the lockdown

ARRESTED. Police continue arrests of crime suspects during the coronavirus lockdown. Image from Shutterstock

LIVE: Senate hearing on money laundering, sex trafficking in POGO industry

Mar 05, 2020 - 11:07 AM

The Senate probes alleged money laundering, crimes, and other nefarious activities associated with POGO operations

Thai drug smugglers spared from death penalty in Bali

Feb 27, 2020 - 5:26 PM

The district court in Bali's capital Denpasar says the two Thai women – a janitor and an operator of a motorcycle rental shop in Thailand – had shown remorse for their crimes and deserved leniency

This picture taken on February 26, 2020 shows Kasarin Khamkhao (C) and Sanicha Maneetes of Thailand (L) attend their trial at a Denpasar court on Indonesia's resort island of Bali. The two Thai women convicted of smuggling methamphetamines into Bali have escaped a possible death sentence after the court slapped them with a 16-year prison sentence instead. Tut PARWATA / AFP

Why coronavirus could help save China's endangered species

Feb 27, 2020 - 9:04 AM

However, there are fears that humans could come to blame pangolins for the outbreak, and seek revenge

BABY. A baby pangolin is held up by a human caretaker. Photo by Greg Yann

Nearly 900,000 pangolins trafficked in Southeast Asia – watchdog

Feb 21, 2020 - 10:01 AM

Over 96,000 kilograms (210,000 pounds) of the creatures' scales were also seized in Malaysia, Singapore, and Vietnam between 2017 and 2019 alone, the report says

RESCUED. A live Philippine pangolin has been turned over to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Central Luzon. Photo by Christian Sarmiento

Court sentences 3 women in Cebu for livestreaming sex abuse

Feb 20, 2020 - 7:39 PM


The 3 online traffickers are each sentenced to between 23 and 36 years in prison and ordered to pay P600,000 in damages

NBI, PNP reveal red flags for hotels, condominiums used as sex dens

Feb 17, 2020 - 4:28 PM

(UPDATED) The NBI says that some hotels are like ‘wet markets,’ with constant drop-off and pick-up of passengers by taxi drivers

Atty. Joel Tovera, Chief of Anti-Organized Transnational Crime Division of the National Bureau of Investigation, at the senate inquiry on the sexual trafficking connected to POGO operations in the country. February 17, 2020. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

U.K. police say 39 Vietnamese died from lack of oxygen, overheating

Feb 12, 2020 - 10:13 AM

The victims were found dead in a refrigeration trailer on October 23 last year

MIGRANT. This photograph taken on October 30, 2019 shows a Vietnamese migrant, who requested to remain anonymous and was deported from Britain, speaking during an interview with AFP at his home in Vietnam's Nghe An province. Photo by Nhac Nguyen/AFP

Cebu court convicts 22-year-old Filipina for trafficking children

Feb 07, 2020 - 3:43 PM

The defendant pleads guilty to 4 cases involving the trafficking of children for online sexual exploitation

13 foreign women rescued from 'prostitution den' in Makati

Jan 31, 2020 - 2:18 PM

Two Chinese men are arrested for allegedly running prostitution operations at the Golden Dragon Hotel in Barangay Bangkal in Makati

RESCUED. Makati police rescue Russian, Vietnamese, and Chinese women from a prostitution den in Barangay Bangkal, Makati on January 29, 2020. Photo by Inoue Jaena/Rappler

French writer 'regrets' his pedophile sex tourism in Asia

Jan 30, 2020 - 11:11 AM

Matzneff never made any secret of his sexual preference for adolescent girls and boys and it did not stop him winning the Renaudot prize in 2013

Hontiveros sees link between influx of POGO workers, rise of sex trafficking in Manila

Jan 28, 2020 - 11:40 PM

Senator Risa Hontiveros says photos of trafficked women are being passed around in WeChat and Telegram chat groups, where there are 'menus of services, as though in a restaurant'

PROSTITUTION DENS. Senator Risa Hontiveros, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality, presides over a public hearing Tuesday, 28 January 2020 on the proliferation of human trafficking activities in the country brought about by the influx of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO). Photo by Albert Calvelo/Senate PRIB

Peruvian police arrest Belgian with 20 wild birds in suitcase

Jan 16, 2020 - 11:25 AM

Some of the brightly colored birds showed signs of dehydration and stress, and some had lost part of their plumage having spent hours in the boxes, the wildlife service says

WILDLIFE. A Crimson rumped Toucanet (Aulacorhynchus haematopygus) is seen at the private reserve of Paz de las Aves (Peace of the Birds) near Nanegalito, Ecuador, 65 Km north of Quito on April 4, 2012. (Photo by Rodrigo Buendia/AFP)

Saving child sex workers

Dec 29, 2019 - 8:00 PM

An estimated 60,000 children are currently trapped in sexual exploitation in the Philippines. From Manila, a group of foreign and local operatives are working to save them.

Rescued victims are led back to police headquarters in Quezon City after being rescued from a condominium complex in Marakina City on December 5. 2019.

Romania upholds acquittals in notorious child trafficking case

Dec 24, 2019 - 8:24 AM

Police raids into child trafficking hubs discovered jewellery and large amounts of cash, as well as documents giving members of the network power of attorney over children, enabling them to be taken to Britain

ROMANIA. A silhouette on a Romanian flag is pictured as protesters march in downtown Bucharest demanding an independent justice system on March 3, 2019. Photo by Daniel Mihailescu / AFP

3 more Chinese men nabbed for sex trafficking at Clark Freeport

Dec 07, 2019 - 8:46 AM

Nine Chinese women are rescued from a room at ON Pool Villas during the sting operation. They are at the regional social welfare office as authorities coordinate with the immigration bureau.

Online sex trafficker arrested in Antipolo

Nov 09, 2019 - 2:15 PM

Police rescue 5 children from the scene during the operation

Thailand drug suspects run to ground days after daring escape

Nov 06, 2019 - 11:00 PM

The couple is facing death penalty charges for drug trafficking, although sentences are rarely carried out

Vietnam 'strongly condemns' human trafficking after UK truck tragedy

Nov 02, 2019 - 2:38 PM

Officials are now working to identify the victims after DNA samples were collected from families in Ha Tinh and Nghe An provinces in central Vietnam

FEARED DEAD. A portrait of 26-year-old Pham Thi Tra My, who is feared to be among the 39 people found dead in a truck in Britain, is kept on a prayer altar inside her house in Vietnam's Ha Tinh province on October 26, 2019. Photo by STR / AFP

Vietnam arrests 2 in UK truck death investigation

Nov 01, 2019 - 11:18 PM

Vietnam says two people were arrested for alleged involvement in the case, which has exposed the dangers of illegal people-smuggling from Vietnam to Europe

Tip from Australian police leads to arrest of online sex trafficker in Rizal

Oct 29, 2019 - 3:01 PM

The woman offers to livestream the sexual abuse of her own daughter to paying customers

EXPLOITER. Philippine authorities arrest a 45-year-old woman in Taytay, Rizal, for sexually abusing her own daughter while live streaming it to customers online on October 25, 2019. Photo courtesy of IJM

5 suspected online sex traffickers arrested in Biliran

Oct 11, 2019 - 8:27 PM

Aside from 5 teenage victims, police have also rescued a 10-month-old, an 11-month-old, and two 2-year-old children who were possibly exploited by the traffickers

Saved at the last minute: SC allows Mary Jane Veloso to testify in local case

Oct 11, 2019 - 3:54 PM

(3rd UPDATE) The OFW's lawyers hope this can play a significant role in removing her from death row in Indonesia for drug trafficking charges

VELOSO CASE. Migrante with the mother of OFW Mary Jane Veloso, Celia, Celia Veloso, march towards the Court of Appeals in Manila on January 25 to encourage the court to allow Veloso to give her testimony while inside the Indonesian jail. Photo by Ben Nabong

Duterte wants tougher sanctions for child traffickers

Sep 28, 2019 - 7:00 AM

Amending the Expanded Anti-Trafficking of Persons Act is among the 'top legislative priorities' of President Duterte, says Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles

BIG ARREST. This is the biggest arrest since the creation of the Philippine Internet Crimes Against Children Center, which coordinates Philippine authorities with international law agencies.

Trafficked to extinction: Vietnam, Taiwan, China

Sep 27, 2019 - 10:00 PM

Despite the scale of the pangolin trade, little is actually known about it, even among prosecutors and law enforcement officials in its key market: China

ANXIETY. A pangolin rescued in a sting operation in Guangzhou, China, earlier this year. A veterinarian who has been caring for her said the death of a fellow rescued pangolin had incurred anxiety in the remaining pangolins. © Sophia Zhang

Philippines, UAE sign pact vs human trafficking

Sep 27, 2019 - 9:01 PM

The agreement seeks to combat human trafficking and ensure the protection, rescue, and rehabilitation of victims

SIGNED AGREEMENT. Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr and UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan sign an MOU combatting human trafficking. Photo from the Department of Foreign Affairs

Trafficked to extinction: India, Nepal, Hong Kong

Sep 27, 2019 - 8:00 PM

Reporters from India, Nepal, and Hong Kong investigate the pangolin trade in their countries

A rescued pangolin at the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation near Kaziranga National Park in Assam, India. © Dauharu Baro / Wildlife Trust of India / International Fund for Animal Welfare

Trafficked to extinction: Indonesia and Philippines

Sep 26, 2019 - 8:00 PM

The pangolin trade in Indonesia has become so sophisticated that it reminds experts of the drug trade. Meanwhile, in the Philippines, the country's wildlife protection law is not a deterrent to poachers.

A Malaysia-bound baby pangolin that was rescued by police in Medan, Indonesia. Dozens of pangolins seized in the same bust were later released into the wild. Others were given to the Indonesian Institute of Sciences for research. Photo by Tommy Apriando/Tempo, Mongabay

SC asked to rule as clock ticks on Mary Jane Veloso local trial

Sep 26, 2019 - 7:12 PM

If the SC does not hand down a ruling before October 28, the prosecution would be forced to wrap up its case against Veloso's recruiters without presenting her as witness

#LETMARYJANESPEAK. Mary Jane Veloso's family is counting on the Supreme Court to allow the OFW to testify in a local human trafficking trial. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

Trafficked to extinction: Malaysia and Thailand

Sep 26, 2019 - 6:00 PM

Demand for pangolins has penetrated even into villages deep in the Malaysian jungle. Near the Malaysia-Thai border, meanwhile, professional smugglers are hired to send the goods across the border.

Trafficked to extinction: Cameroon and Nigeria

Sep 25, 2019 - 10:00 PM

Despite banning the trade in pangolins, business in Cameroon is still thriving in plain sight in some rural regions. In Nigeria, Chinese traders have taken over the market for pangolins.

Shadows still loom around Epstein after sexual predator's death

Aug 18, 2019 - 9:40 AM

His suicide on August 10 in a federal jail in Manhattan provided the latest jolt – but no final closure – to his disturbing story

JEFFREY EPSTEIN. The billionaire accused of trafficking young girls for sex is found to have killed himself in a high security prison. File photo by New York State Sex Offender Registry/AFP

Coroner rules that Jeffrey Epstein hanged himself

Aug 17, 2019 - 8:57 AM

The coroner's ruling comes days after Epstein was accused of trafficking minors for sex

(FILES) In this file undated handout photo obtained July 11, 2019 courtesy of the New York State Sex Offender Registry shows Jeffrey Epstein. Jeffrey Epstein is on suicide watch after he was found semi-concious in his cell on the evening of July 24. Epstein, 66, was charged on July 8, 2019 by prosecutors in New York with one count of sex trafficking of minors and one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors. HO / New York State Sex Offender Registry / AFP

Eritrean wins asylum in Italy after mistaken trafficking charges

Aug 06, 2019 - 9:32 AM

Carpenter Medhanie Tesfamariam Berhe is arrested in Sudan in 2016 on suspicion of being at the heart of one of the world's largest migrant trafficking networks

MISTAKEN IDENTITY. A man believed to be Eritrean Medhanie Yehdego Mered, the head of one of the largest migrant trafficking networks, but claims his identity has been mistaken and to be Medhanie Tesfamariam Behre, is pictured during a session of his trial at the Court of Palermo in Sicily on February 14, 2019. File photo by Andreas Solaro/AFP

Online sex trafficker in Cebu gets 15 years

Jul 31, 2019 - 10:30 AM

Judge Ramon Daomilas Jr orders the woman to pay fines and damages amounting to P1.5 million for trafficking at least 5 minors aged 6 to 17, among them her own daughter

SENTENCED. A woman pleads guilty to online sex trafficking charges and is sentenced to 15 years in prison. Photo courtesy of the International Justice Mission

Pacquiao wants death penalty by firing squad for drug traffickers

Jul 23, 2019 - 7:46 PM

Meanwhile, evangelical Senator Manny Pacquiao supports inclusion of plunder for crimes punishable under the proposed death penalty bill

BACK TO WORK. Senator Manny Pacquiao returns to the Senate on July 23, 2019, 3 days after winning the WBA superwelterweight from undeafeated champion Keith Thurman. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler