Press Release
May 7, 2009


Opposition Sen. Chiz Escudero wants stiffer penalties for those engaged in white slavery in a bid to curb "the repulsive crime."

Escudero is one of the sponsors of Senate Bill 2066, which seeks to amend Article 341 of the Revised Penal Code by imposing the penalty of reclusion temporal, or a minimum of 14 years and a maximum of 20 years in prison, to those found guilty of profiting from prostitution.

"This bill, if passed into law, will serve as a deterrent to those who will take advantage of the poverty situation in order to profit from selling our women and children. This is one of the most repulsive crimes in society today, and we must not allow our women and children to fall prey to these vultures," he said.

The penal code currently imposes a maximum penalty of only 12 years in prison.

At the same time, Escudero also wants to expand the list of those who can be charged with the crime.

"The present law vaguely describes those who can be charged with white slavery. We have expanded that description so perpetrators cannot use the vagueness of the law to escape liability," he said.

The senator chairs both the Committees on Justice and Human Rights, and Constitutional Amendments, Revision of Codes and Laws, the two panels that approved the bill. It is now under interpellation at the Senate floor.

The present law states that a person is liable for white slavery if in any manner or under any pretext he or she shall engage in the business or shall profit by prostitution.

SB 2066 added the following acts as constituting white slavery: act as a procurer of a prostitute; inducing a person to be a client of a prostitute by means of written or oral advertisements or other similar means; taking advantage of any ascendancy, influence or relationship to procure a person as a prostitute; threatening or using violence towards a person to engage him/her as a prostitute; or giving monetary consideration, goods or other pecuniary benefit to a person with the intent to engage such person in prostitution.

A person deriving profit from prostitution, whether as manager or owner of the establishment where the prostitution takes place like a sauna, disco, bar, resort or any place of leisure, shall also be penalized under the bill.

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