MANILA: Prostitution rings have emerged in the country catering mostly to Chinese nationals, and they operate like an online food delivery service that offers a detailed menu of various sexual favours from women – some of them underage – who are sent to the customers’ hotels or houses.

The rise of this kind of operation that prostitutes foreign and Filipino women came with the proliferation of Philippine offshore gaming operators (Pogos), which are run by and cater mostly to Chinese, a top National Bureau of Investigation official told a Senate hearing on Tuesday.

NBI deputy director Vicente de Guzman said the sexual services could only be booked online and tend to target only Chinese nationals, mostly Pogo workers.

Sen Risa Hontiveros, who opened the hearing on reported prostitution for Pogo workers, said the issue gave rise to the question of whether the economic benefits from online gambling operations hosted by the country were worth the social costs.

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said law enforcement agencies, led by the Philippine National Police, would investigate and stop these prostitution rings.

Hontiveros presented screenshots of chat group conversations on online platforms where various sexual services from Chinese, Russian or Korean women were offered using some code words to avoid detection from authorities.

In one chat group called Miss, Wanna Date?, the price to be paid depended on how much time a client would spend with a woman.

For Chinese women, the price ranged from 13,000 pesos (RM1,043) for an hour to 26,000 pesos (RM2,087) for an all-nighter.

For Korean women, it was 12,000 pesos (RM963) for “fastfood” lasting 40 minutes to 32,000 pesos (RM2,569) for an all-nighter.

Russian women were the most expensive, starting at 13,000 pesos (RM1,043) for an hour to an “all night” of 45,000 pesos (RM3,613).

In another chat group called Puding Club, a 40-minute “fastfood service” would cost 3,000 pesos (RM240) and it had “packages” priced at 12,000 to 16,000 pesos (RM963 to RM1,284).

Other chat groups shared photos of women in different states of undress. They used the word “tea” to refer to the prostitutes to evade Chinese online censors.

These women were also called “new cars” who were highly experienced and able to perform in many styles and positions.

“It’s like Grab Food – there is a menu, prices, and the women would be delivered to your hotel or condo, ” Hontiveros said.

Maj Gideon Ines, chief of the Makati Police Investigations Unit, said the prostitution rings used the chat groups and catered only to foreigners to avoid detection.

Some of them rented out entire floors of a hotel to use as their prostitution dens, he said.

— Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN