CRIM. CASE NO. CBU-81127
Court: Regional Trial Court (Branch 10)
Location: Cebu City
Date of decision: 29 October 2010
Victims / Plaintiffs in the first instance
Defendants / Respondents in the first instance
Sarah Jane Estrada and sister, Roselyn Estrada (still at large), were accused of recruiting three women on 3 October 2006 and another two women on 18 October 2010 to engage in prostitution and sexual exploitation. Sarah Jane said that her sister, Roselyn, had just arrived from Malaysia and was “looking for singers in a band group”. She allegedly offered each of the five women an average pay of PHP20,000 (USD465) a week. While in Malaysia, the women were reportedly engaged in prostitution “as guest relations officers”. It was alleged that Sarah Jane Estrada procured customers for the girls for a fee.
Charges / Claims / Decisions
Section 4(a) in relation to s 3(a) and s 10(a) of Republic Act No. 9208 known as the “Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003”
Section 4. Acts of Trafficking in Persons. - It shall be unlawful for any person, natural or juridical, to commit any of the following acts:
(a) To recruit, transport, transfer; harbor, provide, or receive a person by any means, including those done under the pretext of domestic or overseas employment or training or apprenticeship, for the purpose of prostitution, pornography, sexual exploitation, forced labor, slavery, involuntary servitude or debt bondage;
Section 3. Definition of Terms. - As used in this Act:
(a) Trafficking in Persons - refers to the recruitment, transportation, transfer or harboring, or receipt of persons with or without the victim's consent or knowledge, within or across national borders 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 for the purpose of exploitation which includes at a minimum, 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 recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of a child for the purpose of exploitation shall also be considered as "trafficking in persons" even if it does not involve any of the means set forth in the preceding paragraph.
Section 10. Penalties and Sanctions. - The following penalties and sanctions are hereby established for the offenses enumerated in this Act:
(a) Any person found guilty of committing any of the acts enumerated in Section 4 shall suffer the penalty of imprisonment of twenty (20) years and a fine of not less than One million pesos (P1,000,000.00) but not more than Two million pesos (P2,000,000.00)
On 29 October 2010, Judge Soliver Peras of the Regional Trial Court Branch 10 in Cebu City found Sarah Jane Estrada guilty of trafficking in persons and sentenced her to 20 years imprisonment and a fine of PHP5,000,000 (USD116,000). She was further directed by the Court to pay exemplary and moral damages to each of the five complainants in the amount of PHP500,000 (USD11,500).
Sources / Citations
Gregg M. Rubio, ‘As court convicts woman 'trafficker': Group claims victory in fight vs trafficking’, The Freeman (online) 5 November 2010 < http://new.philstar.com/freeman/news-cebu/627317/as-court-convicts-woman-trafficker-group-claims-victory-in-fight-vs-trafficking>