Human trafficking is a bitter reality

Posted by Admin | Posted in Employment, Offenses (Special Penal Laws), Thoughts | Posted on 16-01-2010

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One of the persistent problems that mocks our government today is human trafficking. I dare say mock because despite the many laws aimed at preventing or lessening the incidence of this illegal activity, our government is still unsuccessful. As of 2005, 9.5 million people have been trafficked in the Asia-Pacific region. UNICEF reported that more than one-third of human trafficking incidents happen in Southeast Asia. The sad part of the story is that majority (88%) of the victims are women and children.  And the Philippines got a significant portion of the pie. In 2008, it was listed among the top five countries in the world with most victims of human trafficking.

Human trafficking is not an end in itself. Women and children are being trafficked for prostitution or sexual exploitation. Others become forced laborers or modern day slaves. Most, if not all of these cases, can be attributed to poverty and lack of education.  Innocent and unsuspecting women and children or their parents are being brainwashed by a promise of a well-paying job and a bright future. While in the past, these cases happen clandestinely, now it is happening right before our eyes. But we give in to it because we are in dire need of money – for our family’s basic needs – or simply because we do not want to work hard to get that decent living we dream about.

I was astonished when my nephew’s nanny told me that she was being recruited to work in Manila by her neighbor. Fortunately, her father did not trust the neighbor and instead sent her to work with us.  She told me stories about other neighbor’s daughters being recruited to work in restaurants and clubs . She said these girls come home with a changed personality. “They become prettier and social” she said.  They also learned to speak English. She thought if she worked there, she could also buy those new clothes and a new phone so she could text her friends. What a shallow dream! And a horrible story! But this is reality in the Philippines.

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