Anti-Slavery International helps free trafficked women

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7 March 2007

In March, Anti-Slavery International helped free four women trafficked into prostitution in Côte d’Ivoire, resulting in their safe return home and the prosecution of their traffickers.

The women, aged between 17 and 24, were trafficked from the Philippines believing they were going to work in France. Instead, they were taken to Abidjan, capital of Côte d’Ivoire in West Africa, and forced into prostitution.

Upon arrival, they were told they had to work as prostitutes for a year for no money in order to pay the US$5,000 each was told she owed.

Anti-Slavery International also provided information to local NGOs, lawyers and police which has resulted in the successful prosecution of the traffickers, Chao Yao Hui from Taiwan and Lorna Velonza from the Philippines. Both were sentenced on 7 March to six months in prison and were ordered to pay US$10,000 in compensation to each woman. The case is now pending appeal.

The International Organization for Migration helped facilitate the women’s safe return. They are now receiving counselling and assistance from our local partner Visayan Forum.

In an effort to prosecute the entire trafficking ring, Visayan Forum is currently pursuing a case against all those involved in the Philippines.