CEBU, THE PHILIPPINES, November 24, 2016 – Incredible perseverance paid off last week in Cebu: Two traffickers were convicted after 8 years.
The arduous case began in 2008, when a teenage girl and two young women were recruited and ferried to work at a brothel on an island far from their home. When they arrived and realized that they had been trapped and would be forced to provide sexual services to customers, they escaped.
IJM offered aftercare services to help them settle back into the rhythms of life in freedom, and took up what would turn out to be nearly a decade-long battle for justice.
Finally, on November 14, 2016 two traffickers were sentenced to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty in a plea deal.
Even a few years ago, seeking justice through plea bargains was rare if not impossible. IJM lawyers have advocated for judges to consider plea bargains as a way to settle cases more quickly and, if implemented early, to save the survivors from having to testify. In this case, three of the survivors testified.
The young women have moved forward with their lives, but the conviction brings closure and affirms their worth. It also sends a message to other brothel owners and traffickers across the Philippines—justice will be served, no matter how long it takes.