Joseph Arganda, 48, and Fredie Anabia, 27, were found guilty of violating Republic Act 9208 or the Anti-Trafficking of Persons Act of 2003 after a woman they recruited from the province ended up as a commercial sex worker.
The two accused were arrested in an entrapment operation conducted by the Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Branch of the Cebu City Police Office inside a motel in Cebu City on May 3, 2008.
Authorities were then acting on reports by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the International Justice Mission of rampant human trafficking in areas like barangay Kamagayan.
Aside from the maximum jail term, the court also fined the convicted traffickers to pay the state P1 million.
In his ruling, Regional Trial Court Judge Simeon Dumdum of Branch 7 gave credence to the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses and the victim.
The law against human trafficking prohibits the “recruitment, transportation, transfer or harboring, or receipt of persons with or without the victim’s consent or knowledge … for the purpose of exploitation, prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation …”
“Dura lex, sed lex. (The law is harsh but it’s the law). That maxim has a brite application here, considering the pitiful condition of the accused—a carwash boy and a jeepney conductor,” Dumdum said.
“RA 9208 puts a ruthless penalty on those who engage in trafficking of persons, which only betrays the scorched earth policy of the state toward this persistent social plague, the obliteration of which can only shore up the dignity of women and children, which poverty tends to scuttle,” the judge added.
In January 2007, the victim came to Cebu City after she was enticed by a certain “Joan” who promised to give her a work as a domestic helper, but she ended up in the sex trade instead. /By Ador Vincent Mayol, Reporter