People vs Casio (G.R. No. 211465 December 3, 2014)

People of the Philippines vs Casio
G.R. No. 211465 December 3, 2014

Facts: On May 2, 2008, International Justice Mission (IJM), a nongovernmental organization, coordinated with the police in order to entrap persons engaged in human trafficking in Cebu City. Chief PSI George Ylanan, SPO1 Felomino Mendaros, SPO1 Fe Altubar, PO1 Albert Luardo, and PO1 Roy Carlo Veloso composed the team of police operatives, Luardo and Veloso were designated as decoys, pretending to be tour guides looking for girls to entertain their guests. IJM provided them with marked money, which was recorded in the police blotter. The team went to Queensland Motel and rented adjacent Rooms 24 and 25. Room 24 was designated for the transaction while Room 25 was for the rest of the police team. PO1 Luardo and PO1 Veloso proceeded to D. Jakosalem Street in Barangay Kamagayan, Cebu City’s red light district where the accused noticed them and called their attention. Negotiation occured and upon the signal, the accused was arrested and the two minors were taken into custody by the DSWD officials.

Issue: Whether or not accused is liable for trafficking of persons.

Held: Yes. Under Republic Act No. 10364, the elements of trafficking in persons have been expanded to include the following acts: 

(1) The act of “recruitment, obtaining, hiring, providing, offering, transportation, transfer, maintaining, harboring, or receipt of persons with or without the victim’s consent or knowledge, within or across national borders;” 

(2) The means used include “by means of threat, or use of force, or other forms of coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power or of position, taking advantage of the vulnerability of the person, or, the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person” 

(3) The purpose of trafficking includes “the exploitation or the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery, servitude or the removal or sale of organs”

The Court of Appeals found that AAA and BBB were recruited by accused when their services were peddled to the police who acted as decoys. AAA was a child at the time that accused peddled her services.66 to work as a prostitute because she needed money. AAA also stated that she agreed Accused took advantage of AAA’s vulnerability as a child and as one who need money, as proven by the testimonies of the witnesses.

Knowledge or consent of the minor is not a defense under Republic Act No. 9208.

“The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, adoption or receipt of a child for the purpose of exploitation or when the adoption is induced by any form of consideration for exploitative purposes shall also be considered as ‘trafficking in persons’ even if it does not involve any of the means set forth in the preceding paragraph.”

Accused is further guilty of qualified trafficking. SEC. 6. Qualified Trafficking in Persons.— The following are considered as qualified trafficking: 

  1. When the trafficked person is a child; 
  2. When the adoption is effected through Republic Act No. 8043, otherwise known as the “Inter-Country Adoption Act of 1995” and said adoption is for the purpose of prostitution, pornography, sexual exploitation,forced labor, slavery, involuntary servitude or debt bondage; 
  3. When the crime is committed by a syndicate, or in large scale. Trafficking is deemed committed by a syndicate if carried out by a group of three (3) or more persons conspiring or confederating with one another. It is deemed committed in large scale if committed against three (3) or more persons, individually or as a group; 
  4. When the offender is an ascendant, parent, sibling, guardian or a person who exercise authority over the trafficked person or when the offense is committed by a public officer or employee; 
  5. When the trafficked person is recruited to engage in prostitution with any member of the military or law enforcement agencies; 
  6. When the offender is a member of the military or law enforcement agencies; and 
  7. When by reason or on occasion of the act of trafficking in persons, the offended party dies, becomes insane, suffers mutilation or is afflicted with Human Immunod eficiency Virus (HIV) or the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).
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