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 Controversial tour promoter told: Prostitution not legal

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PostSubject: Controversial tour promoter told: Prostitution not legal   Wed Jan 11, 2012 2:31 pm

Controversial tour promoter told: Prostitution not legal in PHL


A veteran Filipino journalist has refuted the statement of accused sex tours promoter Douglas Allen who told a United States court in December that "prostitution is a licensed activity in the Philippines."

On the New York-based Filipino-American magazine "The FilAm," journalist Cristina Pastor said, while people were busy with all the "holiday hoopla" in December last year, Allen was "saying things guaranteed to infuriate and shock many of us."

A December 27, 2011 report of the news site LoHud.com, said "Allen, who for years has dodged charges that he runs sex tours in Southeast Asia, has scored another legal victory in Westchester County, where a judge dismissed an indictment accusing him of promoting prostitution."

The report quoted Allen as saying, "They’ve been trying to put me in jail for about 10 years, and they’re no closer than when they started."

“I’m laughin’ at ’em,” Allen, 68, said.

Allen was arrested in 2011 and indicted in May after being charged with third-degree promoting prostitution through his business, Big Apple Oriental Tours.

US envoy's sex tourism remark

In September last year, Ambassador Harry Thomas Jr., the United States' envoy to the Philippines, drew flak for saying that about 40 percent of the male foreign tourists in the Philippines come for sex.

Speaking before a round-table discussion among Court of Appeals magistrates in Manila, Thomas said it was unacceptable but "we know that 40 percent of foreign men who come to the Philippines, including from the US, come for sexual tourism."

Thomas said the US government will not hesitate to assist the Philippine government in prosecuting Americans engaged in sexual tourism.

Thomas likewise referred to the existence of establishments that promote sexual tourism, some of which are found along Roxas Boulevard, where the US Embassy in Manila is located.

About a month later, however, Thomas said he regretted making the statement that nearly half of male tourists come to the Philippines for sex.

Prostitution in the Philippines

In an Associated Press report, Allen claimed that "Women are hired as entertainers and are allowed to go on dates.

“Big Apple Oriental Tours don’t make a penny from prostitution in Southeast Asia,” Allen said.

However, Pastor said, "While prostitution may continue to smear the reputation of the Philippines – along with corruption and a lame leadership — Allen’s statement is wrong. It is a blatant lie and something we Filipinos should constantly correct every time it’s passed from one person to another and especially through the media."
"Prostitution is a crime in the Philippines that can put flesh traffickers behind bars anywhere from several years to life. Enforcement hasn’t been as effective as it should be because the forces of poverty, corruption and just overall socio-political indifference make it difficult to address and totally eliminate the problem," Pastor said.

According to Philippine Republic Act No. 9208, "An Act to Institute Policies to Eliminate Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children," prostitution refers to "any act, transaction, scheme or design involving the use of a person by another, for sexual intercourse or lascivious conduct in exchange for money, profit or any other consideration."

On the other hand, sex tourism was defined as "a program organized by travel and tourism-related establishments and individuals which consists of tourism packages or activities, utilizing and offering escort and sexual services as enticement for tourists."

Pastor noted that, "Allen’s business may have been hurt in the 10 years he has been fighting the charges in court. His website is still operating as a regular travel agency arranging tours to the Philippines, but women are no longer part of the package." - VVP, GMA News

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