Victor Perdomo with Rodrigo Duterte before his inauguration in 2016. (Reuters)
The U.S. attorney general on Monday announced charges of sex trafficking against the political ally of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who has faced accusations of extreme brutality.
“I have determined that there is probable cause to believe that a Philippine citizen, Victor Perdomo, and five others, have committed offenses relating to human trafficking,” U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a written statement.
“According to the affidavit for arrest warrants, Perdomo allegedly distributed and advertised sexual services of a minor, primarily in the United States,” said Sessions. “These charges are the result of the first human trafficking prosecution in the State of Louisiana. This case shows that if you traffic victims in the U.S., you will face serious consequences.”
In 2017, 19-year-old Riza Lizama, who was rescued at a bus station in Louisiana, alleged that she was forced into sex slavery at the hands of Perdomo and others.
“Perdomo allegedly forced Lizama to perform sex acts on a large number of men in New Orleans and in various states in the United States, sometimes putting other women with him,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana said in a news release.
Earlier this year, Perdomo made a series of public appearances alongside Duterte, after the Philippine president’s extraordinary defense of his violent, drugs-war policies, and on Monday Duterte tweeted that he was “glad” to see U.S. justice “prevailing on human trafficking related to my compatriot in Vice President.”
Perdomo is also facing similar charges in Manila. “Perdomo’s alleged crimes are not far from the law,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana said in a press release. “According to the affidavit for arrest warrants, Perdomo allegedly distributed and advertised sexual services of a minor, primarily in the United States, in addition to victimizing other minors throughout the Philippines.”
“It is vital that victims of human trafficking are protected and that their abusers, including those in law enforcement, are held accountable,” added Sessions. “The United States remains unwavering in its commitment to combatting human trafficking and, with our law enforcement partners around the world, we will continue to fight this heinous crime.”
Read the full story at the AP.
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