MANILA, THE PHILIPPINES – Late last week, a karaoke bar where minors had been trafficked and sold for sex was permanently closed. "This closure means that no child will ever have to be exploited here again," explained Lawrence Aritao, one of IJM Manila's lawyers.
Local authorities permanently closed a bar that was known to sell minors for sex. IJM helped police rescue girls who had been trafficked there last year, but the bar had re-opened for business the very next day.
In November 2011, nine women and girls were rescued from the bar in a joint rescue operation by IJM and the National Bureau of Investigation, Anti Human Trafficking Division. Although the trafficking survivors were delivered from the abusive bar into freedom, the bar re-opened for business as usual the very next day.
IJM filed a petition with local authorities, requesting that the abusive bar be permanently closed on the grounds that minors were being exploited and sold for sex. On January 26, 2012, the Department of Labor invited IJM to watch as a sign was nailed to the door: The bar was ordered permanently closed for its violation of the Philippines' anti-trafficking law– ending a cycle of violence for good. "The Department of Labor found clear evidence that children were exposed and used in prostitution within the walls of this bar," said Aritao.