Court of Appeals (File photo)

MANILA – The Court of Appeals (CA) upheld the life imprisonment sentence and more than PHP2 million in fines imposed by a Pampanga court on two women for violation of anti-trafficking in persons law.

In a decision on May 4 and made public online recently, the CA said Julie Nicdao and another woman named in court records only as YYY are guilty beyond reasonable doubt of qualified trafficking.

YYY’s real name was concealed to protect the identity of her sibling, one of their minor-aged victims referred to as AAA.

The operation to catch the two was hatched following international intelligence cooperation in 2018 with the Australian Federal Police, Queensland Police Service, and National Bureau of Investigation Anti-Human Trafficking DIvision (NBI-Ahtrad).

They identified Nicdao from Angeles City, Pampanga as producing and selling pornographic web camera shows to clients who pay her through international money transfers.

Australian authorities gathered the details following their arrest of a certain Alan Thomas Latimer on Dec. 6, 2017 and whose mobile phone camera files yielded a sex video of a minor sent by Nicdao.

An entrapment was hatched by NBI undercover agents who posed as foreigners and lured Nicdao into introducing them to the victims.

On Aug. 26, 2018, the NBI agents, social workers, and intelligence agents from the Department of Justice Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking in Persons arrested Nicdao and YYY.

“The crime of trafficking in persons is considered consummated even if no sexual intercourse had taken place. The mere transaction consummates the crime,” the CA ruled. “It is sufficient that the accused has lured, enticed or engaged its victims or transported them for the established purpose of exploitation, which includes prostitution, sexual exploitation, forced labor, slavery and the removal or sale of organs.” (PNA)