FOUR young Russian and Ukrainian prostitutes, who have been locked up for two months, pleaded not to be deported by Russian cargo ship in case they were molested by the 'girl-hungry' crew.
The women, who were locked up in the same cells as 30 men, including four suspected paedophiles and seven suspected Arab terrorists connected with 'blind' Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, said they would prefer to fly home because the sailors had not been on shore leave for a long time.
However, the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation and the Russian Embassy have announced they do not have the budget to pay for the air fares.
The women, aged between 19 and 21, surrendered to the immigration department claiming they were being kept as white slaves by an international syndicate, earning 10,000 pesos (HK$2,900) a night. They said they were part of a group of 50 Eastern Bloc women who illegally entered the Philippines en route to Brunei.
The Russian Embassy, which has had its hands full over the past month trying to send home the stranded All-Star Russian circus in Davao, suggested the women take the cheapest way home: by cargo ship.
However, Acting Immigration Commissioner Jose Lopez said he could understand men on a cargo ship which had been at sea a long time would not treat the women nicely. He suggested charitable groups such as Rotary, Lions and the Kiwanis service clubs set up projects to raise the air fares.
The All-Star Russian circus, meanwhile, flew out for Moscow yesterday with its remaining animals, ending a litany of woes.
The circus had arrived in the southern city of Cebu in July last year with 37 performers and more than 20 animals.