(Fr. Shay's columns are published in The Manila Times,
in publications in Ireland, the UK, Hong Kong, and on-line.)
Trafficking of children and women is growing in most countries. All who believe in the dignity and equality of the human person are rightly outraged and disturbed by the blatant and shocking wave of international trafficking and sale of human persons as sex slaves and exploited unpaid workers. Many think slavery was abolished but how wrong. It is thriving in a modern form and using all modern forms of electronic communication and media to promote it. Child pornography drives this dehumanization of children and women, denying their dignity and value. A new proposed law would help stop the making and distribution of this child pornography.
An open-letter to the President of the Philippines, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is being circulated and those who would like to join this advocacy to save children from abuse can clip this column and mail it to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Malacanang Palace, Manila, Philippines.
Dear Madame President,
At no time in the history of the Philippines has there been a greater opportunity for the President to act decisively to protect Filipino children at grave risk than the present historical moment. Thousands of Filipino children are damaged for life when abused in the making of child pornography.
The abuse continues when the images of the sexually-abused children are spread around the world through the internet and are available on the streets of the Philippines for all to purchase with impunity. They are shown to other children as training videos to seduce them into becoming Commercially Sexually Exploited Children and they too are abused and damaged for life.
By immediately certifying as "urgent " the Anti-child Pornography Bill pending before the House of Representatives, House Bill No.684 entitled "An Act Defining the Crime of Child Pornography, Imposing Penalties Thereof, and for Other Purposes", you will save thousands of children for years to come.
The Philippines needs this law urgently to protect children and to fulfill the nation's international obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child and other international protocols undertaken by the State on behalf of the Filipino People.
The passing of House Bill No.684 at your behest will be a proud historical legacy and will provide protection for children for future generations.
We the concerned citizens, representatives of agencies and organizations working for the protection of the dignity of the Filipino people and the rights of the child strongly appeal for you to act and announce the bill as an "urgent priority". [End].
Child pornography drives much of the sex industry and is behind the recruitment and trafficking of children into this form of slavery. It's slavery because most are trapped and held against their will and not paid. They are told that they have endless debts to pay.
Margie and Angie are the latest to be rescued from sex slavery and are now turning around their lives. They were lured by pimps from their villages in Samar province, Middle Philippines and trafficked to the sex bars of Angeles City where the politicians give the bar permits to operate mostly owned by foreigners from European countries. They were locked in a sex den with debts and threats hanging over them.
The Preda team received a text message from Beth, a girl who had been bought out of the club by a foreign sex tourist who paid her debts. She texted to say that Margie and Angie were desperate and wanted to escape from the sex bar where they were imprisoned and forced to service 10 to 12 men a night and never paid. They were beaten up when they refused to have sex without a condom. Margie thought she was pregnant and the Mamasan said she must have a forced abortion, she didn't want it. She had to escape. After a secret agreement arranged by Beth by text, they climbed over a wall and ran to the waiting Preda van.
They are now safe at the Preda home for girls. They are now 17 year-old girls and are taking non-formal study and have quickly picked-up skills in shirt and sportswear making from which they have good earnings and have some extra to send home to their family so their brothers and sisters can go to school and never have to beg on the streets or be recruited into the sex business. END
Visit www.preda.org for more related articles.
Contact Fr. Shay Cullen at the Preda Center, Upper Kalaklan, Olongapo City, Philippines.
PREDA Information Office
PREDA Foundation, Inc.