Man From Melbourne Charged With Human Trafficking In The Philippines Found Dead In His Isolation Cell

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Ethnic Vietnamese sex workers
IN PHOTO: Ethnic Vietnamese sex workers wait for clients in a popular red light area in Phnom Penh, September 3, 2001. Cambodia's Minister of Women's Affairs, Mu Sochua, launched an anti-human trafficking campaign on Monday, saying the city's booming sex industry was proof that human trafficking still thrives in Cambodia. Mu Sochua also said that Cambodian women and children are being lured by traffickers to Thailand and Vietnam with the promise of good jobs which later turn out to be prostitution, organised begging rings and illegal labouring jobs. REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea

An Australian national held in custody at Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center in Central Visayas, Philippines was spotted in his own cell lifeless, local authorities said. Hilton Reece Munro committed suicide by hanging himself using a thin blanket.

In July 2013, the local police arrested Munro at Stakili beach resort in Compostela town, Cebu City for 9 counts of qualified human trafficking. Reports said Munro was in the Philippines in 2013 with a female companion, touring around Bantayan Island, enjoying the hospitality of Coco Palms resort in Danao, before finally sojourning at Stakili Beach. Upon checking out, the local authorities arrested him along with Gilbert Andrada, a local taxi driver.

The witnesses, according to the police, were minor boys — aged 10 to 13 — who accounted in details their sexual escapades. Andrada said that originally, they were charged with five counts of human trafficking violations under a special law protecting children against exploitation. But as the case dragged on, the charges increased to nine counts in two separate trial court branches. In the Philippines, human trafficking is a non-bailable offence, which meant Munro had to stay until the case shall have been decided on its merits.

Writing And Fetching Water

Inmates described Munro as someone who had the passion for writing. In fact, for him, long days meant a time to write his thoughts. On the eve of his death, someone from the detention saw Munro scribbling on something. Guards in the facility said Munro — like all inmates — normally fetch water in the morning. But he did not do so on that fateful day.

Around 7:15 on Saturday morning, a detainee went over to Munro’s cell and found the latter’s body hanging lifeless. It appeared that Munro used a thin cotton blanket, which on one end was fastened, enclosing his neck, and the other end was knotted around one of his cell’s metal bar.

The Capitol security consultant, Marco Toral, said the incident was suicide, although the authorities did not find any suicide notes. Munro was perceived by the local officials to have suffered from depression.

He was sent to the isolation cell last year when he was involved in a brawl with the other inmates. Munro was a former teacher in a private school in Hong Kong. He was 46 and a native of Melbourne.

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