May 31, 2008
Corazon Atalig, alleged human trafficker was sentenced in March 2008. She has written a letter to the editor of the Saipan Tribune apologizing for her role in human trafficking and destroying the lives of young women and minors from the Philippines who were forced to dance naked and coerced into prostitution in her husband's Starlite and Star Dust Clubs.
The plea bargain forgave 226 counts including prostitution, human trafficking, unlawful exploitation of a minor, and harboring an illegal alien. The Marianas Variety reported on the sentencing in March:
Corazon Atalig was ordered to report to the Department of Corrections on Jan. 28 at 8 a.m. to start serving her jail sentence and she will be released on Jan. 25, 2009 at 8 a.m.
She will be eligible for parole as determined by the Board of Parole.
According to Wiseman’s order, the parties agreed that Corazon Atalig “shall be deemed to have one misdemeanor conviction with respect to immigration matters.”
From 226 counts to a pleas bargain that reduced those to an immigration crime. Where is the justice in that?
Here's her apology:
Open letter to the public
I am writing this letter to publicly apologize to all of you for the mistake (s) which I had committed, for that reason I asked for your forgiveness. I am deeply remorseful and promise never to commit such mistake again.
Corazon R. Atalig
I wonder if the apology is sincere or if it was ordered as part of the sentence or plea bargain. Perhaps it was made so she could receive parole. It is certainly a shallow apology considering that damage she inflicted upon her innocent victims. Human trafficking is more than a "mistake."
This woman has the potential to do some public good. If she is truly sincere, after her release she could speak publicly about the crimes she committed, and it could possibly deter others from this selfish, immoral practice that has been prevalent in the CNMI.