22 Foreigners Nabbed In Child Prostitution Raid
MANILA, Philippines (AP) _ Government agents raided a prostitution den in a nearby resort at dawn today, arresting seven Americans and 15 other foreigners who were customers or managers of teen-age male prostitutes, officials said.
The arrests were made at a hotel and eight cottages in Pagsanjan, a riverside resort town 40 miles southeast of Manila that has long been notorious for child prostitutes who cater to foreign tourists.
Miriam Defensor-Santiago, chief of the Commission on Immigration and Deportation, said she planned to begin deportation proceedings Monday against the arrested foreigners, whose identities were not immediately available.
Evidence seized during the raid included hundreds of color photographs of naked male and female teen-agers that officials said prostitution den operators used as catalogues for customers.
In addition to the Americans, those arrested included five West Germans, three Australians, two Belgians, a Briton, a Spaniard, a Dutchman, a Canadian and a Japanese, said Mrs. Defensor-Santiago.
She said they ranged in age from 55 to 60.
The immigration chief told reporters she could also file criminal charges against the foreigners but thought deportation was the better option.
″I believe that their continued presence in Philippine society would be inimical to the national interest,″ Mrs. Defensor-Santiago added. ″Therefore, I prefer to act more quickly.″
She said she had evidence that some of those arrested were not customers but rather operators of establishments ″engaged in wide-scale child prostitution.″
The agents also rounded up 18 male prostitutes aged 14 and 15 and a 16- year-old girl and three Filipino recruiters, Mrs. Defensor-Santiago said. The teen-agers over to the Department of Social Welfare.
She said government officials were studying whether to prosecute the children, who could be liable to jail terms of six years, or to treate them as ″victims,″ which would qualify them for aid under a government rehabilitation program.
Estimates on the number of male and female prostitutes in this country range from 100,000 to one million.