Tuesday, December 28, 2010


How is it to be loved by someone? Genuine love can be overwhelming at times but it does lift you out of that rubble of chaos. It makes everything okay even if none of the circumstances have changed at all. It gives you hope in impossible situations.

I am quite fortunate to have experienced love from so many people and in so many ways, even in ways I could not imagine before. It is truly an amazing experience especially when trauma leads you to depression, even to suicide. You may lose all hope but God doesn't lose hope on you.

I am truly blessed to live the life I have lived in the past decade. Though the pain of betrayal and disappointment still hurt me, I know that everything was meant to be for my own good and the good of others.

Forgiveness is something I'm still trying to learn. I have learned not just from me, but also from others, how bitterness can eat away your soul. I am a child of what might be termed as a broken home though I really never will know the true pain of having divorced parents.

They are still both resentful toward each other; but they never let that get that in the way of being my parents, even now that I am an adult. They are still as supportive as ever and have always let me make my own decisions. How have I taken that for granted!

Not many enjoy the freedom I have... Many girls and young women in the world are bound by poverty and old, dangerous traditions. Some are imprisoned by abuse, neglect and ignorance. The world we live in today is still a dangerous place for a girl to be born in.

Women are being treated like animals, like slaves which men own and control. In most of the world, their education never goes beyond basic reading and writing. Sometimes, they never even go to school. They are expected to be homemakers and sometimes forced to be just that. Look at the Taliban regime in Afghanistan!

In rural China, baby girls are being killed immediately after birth. China still holds the one-child policy in strict respect though there are some exceptions. Since the Chinese culture favor boys, there is now a lack of women in China. And this has resulted in a large number of women from poorer Asian countries being trafficked into the country. South Korean women are also being abducted and sold to Chinese men as brides.

There are so many things perilously affecting women. I can only write about so many in one article. But I know that not many women have ever felt genuine love. A love that respects, protects, nurtures and cherish who they really are. Not the commodities that they are for men and their families.

That is why I have become such an advocate for women's rights. I have seen in my own life how much I have accomplished because of the opportunities given to me. I have seen what I have contributed to the betterment of the world from the support of so many wonderful people in my life. Imagine if every woman in the world had the same opportunities and support as I had!

We need to show them the love that every human being deserves. If we are to be light in this world as God has instructed us, we must not just feel compassion, we must courageously act this compassion out. I am challenging everyone, especially me, to show them how it is to be loved someone. You may have gone through abuse and neglect yourself but know this, you are also asked to love yourself as someone genuinely loves you.

Friday, December 3, 2010


The World Wide Web has let us built campaigns against many things. Domestic violence in October now child abuse on Facebook with people's favorite cartoon character. But this doesn't really get to the heart of the problem...

It doesn't take us to the causes of the problems. It doesn't punish the perpetrators. It doesn't salve the wounds of the victims. What we need is to get to the actual communities that these crimes are being committed.

Let's take the issues of female genital mutilation or female circumcision... This is being practiced throughout Africa even in a seemingly progressive country such as Egypt. It is reported that 91 percent of Egyptian women currently aged 19 to 45 have undergone this very dangerous procedure that is mostly rooted in culture than medicine. No matter what we do even with the help of the Egyptian government, we will not be able to completely end the practice once and for all. There will always be people who are adamant advocates of tradition, even if lethal like honor killing.

Domestic violence and child abuse are very much intertwined together and not any single city in the world is immune to them. I live in Washington DC and I always hear reports of really bad incidents. They are pretty awful here. A couple of years ago, a single mother killed her daughters and put the bodies in her freezer. The bodies were found months later after police raided her apartment.

I think the best thing to eradicate violence against women and crimes against humanity is education. We need to teach not just our leaders but our fellow ordinary citizens that domestic violence, child abuse, rape and gender violence is negatively impacting our society in more ways than one. We need to show the world that there are ways to stop these things from happening. The most basic and most important thing is raising our children that it is not all right to be abused and be ripped off our basic human dignity. We must retrain men and women what it is to treat each other with equal respect and how some old traditions and thinking must be done away with. And there are so many practical ways in doing this. For example, have a child abuse workshop at your local library or a showing of documentary at a local college campus. I've seen how getting the community involved, and not just online, gets the ball really rolling...

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Violence Against Women

Last Wednesday, September 22, 2010 marks the 16th year in existence of the United States 1994 Violence Against Women Act drafted by then-Senator Joseph Biden (Delaware). In celebration, Vice President Biden along with his wife Dr. Jill Biden hosted a reception at their official residence in Washington, DC.

In the same week, the United Nations (UN) held a press conference to announce the formation of UN Women. UN Women will be headed by former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet who now holds the office of Under-Secretary-General of Gender Equity and Empowerment of Women. UN Women will function as the UN's arm in protecting female rights all over the world especially where women and girls are put through physical harm that are camouflaging as tradition.

Girls and women have always had been traditionally viewed as being mothers and homemakers. Boys are given more priority when it comes to health and education because males are typically the breadwinners of the family. But as we progress into the 21st Century, we are seeing that giving girls and women the same opportunity as their male counterparts is good for the economy and the general betterment of the world as a whole.

From common crimes as rape to the strangest procedure (to most people of the world) of female genital mutilation, a lot of girls and women are physically harmed and psychologically wounded. Something about the masochism of the global male population that makes them vulnerable to violent behavior especially toward females.

If it cannot be totally stopped, we as citizens of the world must do all we can to reduce the incidents that occur everyday. Education is key. Both men and women need to know the dark secret of domestic violence, rape and even honor killings. It has big societal impacts because the impaired psychological state of these women prevent them from positively contributing. Hospital and clinics are over-capacity from the injuries and complications of what has been done to their bodies.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Abuse & Exploitation That's Actually Trafficking

Last Monday night I attended a D.C. Stop Modern Slavery meet up at Ellington Apartments on U Street, the speaker was Bradley Myles of Polaris Project. Mr. Myles spoke of the different ways how unsuspecting, vulnerable people fall victims to human trafficking. He said how people get trafficked into the United States by supposed employment agencies, people that needed nannies and housekeepers and people that looked they were offering legitimate jobs in restaurants and other retail settings. I learned how a lot of Filipinos fell into these same kind of traps when I was in high school in Angeles City.

In Japan, Filipino women who dream of becoming big as singers and dancers are lured to the Land of the Rising Sun to work in clubs but unfortunately, they become prostitutes. I did not hear much about their abuse in Japan but knowing how well sex trafficking victims can hide the signs of abuse, I definitely can say they were unwillingly exploited in their eagerness to travel abroad. Other Filipino women go the Middle East to work as nannies and domestic servants and reading books and online articles, I learned of the neglect and abuse their Middle Eastern employers treat them with. There was this big headliner of a Filipino nanny that got hanged to death by Singapore because the boy under her care unfortunately fell off the window and crashed to his death two to three stories below. This was in the 1990s when I was still in high school. The whole Philippine nation appealed to the government of Singapore to just send her home for extradition but Singaporeans are strict. If you get caught with marijuana possession, you are immediately sentenced to death.

So in other words, I knew that this was all happening... I just didn't know what it was called. Neither did the world... All I knew that it was wrong... Now we know what it is "human trafficking." Now we've identified the problem, let's solve it.... Reminds me of the scientific method somehow..

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Personal Notes on Human Trafficking

"I don't know what's going on but the closer I get to the ground on this human trafficking problem, the more human I feel and my compassion becomes more real and forgiving. As I try to get to the root of the problem and help others heal, I feel like I'm becoming more whole than the actual victims."

-Excerpt from my personal journal entry on July 24, 2010

I do believe that everyone today should become an abolitionist especially the slaves themselves as they fight for their freedom. Slavery is the most pervasive form of abuse in the world today. Most Westerners believe that it has been abolished in the 18th Century. It hasn't and we must tell them. It is still occurring in London and Washington DC, the capitals of the Anglo-Saxon world. And it is still happening in Paris, Berlin, Paris and Madrid also. People are being transported from poorer countries to these rich countries for prostitution, domestic servitude and other forms of hard labor that would be extremely expensive if done by a citizen or legal resident of those nations for they are protected by law. And have you also heard about the foreign interns of the Japanese government that died recently in factories?

Working for no pay in harsh conditions is the worst hell on this earth a human can live in. I think most can agree with me on this... Slavery has been used by the Nazis. They worked the Jews to death to help them kill other Jews. In African nations, impoverished people are being enslaved by more powerful tribes or individuals. In some war-torn countries, innocent people of the weaker minority are enslaved into farm work or domestic servitude. If the slaves try to run away, they are beaten and killed.

This atrocity must end... We are now in the 21st Century. We are making such big leaps in technological advancement and scientific knowledge. Why can't our compassion grow along with it? Are we really losing our humanity?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Human Trafficking By The Numbers

From the 2010 Trafficking In Person Report of the United States Department of State

Adults and children in forced labor, bonded labor, and forced prostitution around the world: 12.3 million

Successful trafficking prosecutions in 2009: 4,166

Successful prosecutions related to forced labor: 335

Victims identified: 49,105

Ratio of convicted offenders to victims identified, as a percentage: 8.5

Ratio of victims identified to estimated victims, as a percentage: 0.4

Countries that have yet to convict a trafficker under laws in compliance with the Palermo Protocol: 62

Countries without laws, policies, or regulations to prevent victims’ deportation: 104

Prevalence of trafficking victims in the world: 1.8 per 1,000 inhabitants

Prevalence of trafficking victims in Asia and the Pacific: 3 per 1,000 inhabitants

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Calling Out For Help in Teeny Ways

Let's get this straight, I work full-time as a customer service representative for a bank. You may think I see money laundering as in millions of dollars. Sometimes I do but usually it's not even at an amount I can substantiate with to create a report. The US Federal Reserve may have created a somewhat comprehensive anti-money laundering policy for banks and other financial institutions to follow to prevent this but these guidelines are only after the big guns, which are very rare. In my own daily experience in dealing with the public, it is always around $5,000. Or in some instances, a few hundred dollars or even less than $20. Interacting with people in the bank setting for more than nine years has made me sensitive enough to pick up on subtle clues of people's behavior...

And then there are the real clues of human trafficking or enslavement that I can pick up on just like that. The fear and the strain in the victims' eyes are very apparent. Their souls are screaming, "Get me out of here! Please, help me!" Last week, I was helping a young Russian or eastern European lady with a credit card issue. The lady was so thin and gaunt that I was scared for her health. An older lady who appeared to be right around her ideal weight was impatiently waiting for her, appeared to be watching her every move and listening to her every word. This lady only comes in with cash to either make a deposit into her account or pay her credit card. Even with this, I cannot say that she truly is a victim of human trafficking.

Then, there are the Chinese people who do pretty suspicious transactions but it is so routine that most of my colleagues no longer question it. They have no clue that behind the accumulation of these wads of cash are people being abused and exploited for the benefit of greedy monsters. I see it everyday at work that I want to cut my hands most of the time. Before I began to fully understand the big problem of human trafficking, I just thought it was nothing but individuals trying to evade taxes or the authorities. No longer do I see it that way. My heart breaks every single evening knowing I could have freed a modern slave by just saying something but my words would surely fall on deaf ears.

Fear is mostly to be blamed for this because these people would kill you or your loved ones to silence you. But I am no longer afraid. In my own experience (personal not work), a great lack of courage has prevented justice from being served in the Philippine courts of murdered people. People are threatened and intimidated to do certain things. Vote buying has been a huge problem in Philippine elections. Just look at the headlines from the recent national and local elections... Just type in "Philippine elections" in any search engine and you'll see how dirty politics can really be.

In my own hometown, there is a red light district because of the former US Clark Air Force Base. Now, Americans, Australians, Europeans, Japanese and even Koreans can be found there as sex tourists. There has been many efforts to curb prostitution in Angeles City (my hometown). The Philippine National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has a large human trafficking task force that it also sends its specialists to other southeast Asian nations to provide assistance in raids and also, give expert advice. Local officials have been doing their best to abolish prostitution here ever since the US military has set foot in this city but corruption has plagued the Philippine archipelago so much that as soon as you put one fire out in one place, another one begins nearby (which is true also of the whole world, unfortunately).

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Is the World Turning a Blind Eye Towards Child Labor?

Yesterday (June 12, 2010) was "World Day Against Child Labor." The only way people would find out that news if they were part of a network that helps to either abolish child labor altogether or improve the working conditions of child workers. In the United States, yesterday was all about the FIFA World Cup being held in South Africa because the US team was playing against England. All of Washington DC was filled with soccer fever yesterday.

But amidst all the celebratory screams for the World Cup, where heroes are made, the children of the poor are being exploited by greedy criminals around the world even in South Africa. In the host cities like Durban and Johannesburg, there are young girls under 18 being prostituted by sex traffickers to make profits on the influx of soccer fans from all over. And throughout the African continent, children who are capable of doing household chores are enslaved into domestic work for what I consider as (I'm not going to be apologetic here) insolent grown-up human pigs. If these children refuse to offer sexual favors or to do housework, they are frequently beaten, burned and sometimes killed.

A child is a human being. A child represents one human life that has so much potential if tapped properly. In all of history, vulnerable populations especially children--who are not powerful enough to fight for their own rights--have been viewed by people (who unfortunately let the animal nature take over their will) as a group whose only purpose is for their own gain like machines that can discarded or reused. We are all part of the human race. We are like a drop of water, as Mahatma Gandhi is quoted, and we all make the ocean of life. Everything we do affects others. Not one action can be separated from the whole world.

For the human race to advance into outer space (the ultimate frontier for human beings in my view), we all must make sure that we respect all human life as if it was our own. Many people think "not my child, not my responsibility." This is a wrong attitude to take. Each child represents a brighter future for all of us. Remember all the miraculous stories of child prodigies... These children were given proper care and education that made them into individuals they are. I don't think I'm being delusional to say "Imagine if this is what we did for all the world's children." Yes! This world would be the world of peace and progress we all hoped for. But as long as we neglect their needs as children who are growing into full-grown adults, we will never climb out of the mess the world is in today as it has been for millennia...

These soccer players were children too. They were nurtured with the best childcare and parenting in the world that made them the great soccer players that they are. And if we can get the whole world excited about soccer or futbol (as most of the world knows it by), why can't we create a worldwide rage against child labor?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Free Speech & Child Pornography VS Children

Here is a true but horrible fact about child pornography: 76 percent of individuals arrested for Internet child pornography had molested a child.

On May 31, 2010, RTE (a television network in Ireland) had aired a "Prime Time Investigates" episode on "Crimes Against Children" . It interviewed child pornography experts from the United States (the Federal Bureau of Investigation), Europe (the European Commission) and in Ireland (the Garda). It narrates how both adult men and adult women record themselves sexually abusing minors. Infants and toddlers are also being raped. A two month old girl was recorded with a man penetrating her. These small voiceless children are being sexually abused because they cannot articulate to people what is being done to them. The most heartbreaking story is of a 12 year old boy having to face the shame of having to watch himself with his father of him being sexually abused by a trusted family friend to help law enforcement identify the molester. Many western European countries, even England, have been blocking access to child pornography Web sites. But Ireland has done nothing... It is 100 percent certain you will be able to view images and videos of minors being abused and molested online.

But this episode does not just cover Ireland, it also talks about the problem here in the United States. Fortunately, possessing any form of child pornography is illegal in both Ireland and the United States. And many do get arrested and sentenced with a "sex offender" status for life.

In May 25, 2010, the United Nations "launched a major campaign for a universal adoption of treaty protocols that outlaw the sale of children, child prostitution and pornography, and protect youngsters in armed conflicts, with Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon calling for ratification by 2012." But will this be enough...

Japan has recently blocked a ban on child pornography in defense of the freedom of the press and free speech. This is not surprising unfortunately. Modern Japanese culture has been subtly promoting sexual abuse of women and children. There is an anime genre called hentai that mostly consist of raping young girls. And worst, there is a video game Rapelay in which you gain points by sexually molesting a woman and her two daughters. Now what does that tell you...

The same day the UN launched their campaign to protect vulnerable children, a local Philadelphia television news show (NBC) aired a report on Pedophile Playbook . Pedophile Playbook is basically a more than 700 pages long online bible through the whole process of sexually abusing a child from luring an unsuspecting victim to actually raping them in various ways. But this cannot be blocked or removed from the World Wide Web because it is protected by the US Constitution under the right to "free speech."

So, what is more important--"free speech" or children?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Why Child Pornography Is Wrong?

Recently in headline news, Japan has blocked a ban on the ownership of child pornography. They tried to justify that it denied the people's freedom of the press and freedom of expression. I read this that the Japanese people condone the sexual abuse of children. Child abuse alone is already a big wound in our modern society but the sexual abuse of children is the biggest gash we have placed on the generations that would inherit the earth.

Rape has been used as a weapon of war to demoralize the survivors especially the raped women. Our sexuality was never meant to be used for bestiality. It is our sexuality that promotes our drive to reproduce, to give birth to new life. It is meant to be used to express love not hate...

Wikipedia defines child pornography "as a record of sexual abuse. Abuse of the child occurs during the sexual acts which are recorded in the production of child pornography." Child pornography is a multi-billion dollar industry and children as young as infants are abused in the production of child pornography. "These guys are raping infants and toddlers. You can hear the child crying, pleading for help in the video. It is horrendous," Flint Waters, an investigator with the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force was quoted saying. These pedophiles are not humans, they're not even animals because animals have emotions too. They are monsters that prey on children out of their small size, innocence and helplessness. Even wild animals show sympathy to those who are suffering... It is known that lions are ethical killers. When they hunt wildebeest, they block their prey's airways by biting the wildebeest nose until it dies in its claws. Suffocating is the fastest way to kill anyone or anything that breathes. But these pedophiles love to hear the anguish screams of these young children. They delight in it...

There is an anime video game called "RapeLay." The main objective of the game is for the player to sexually abuse a mother and her two young daughters. Here is Wikipedia's article on it: RapeLay My first thought was is how could anyone even think of creating such a game. But obviously, a lot of Japanese for it has become very popular even outside of Japan. I am not condemning Japan but Japanese women & children must be protected from this horrific crime. It is always the most helpless and most vulnerable who are harmed just because...

But here's something to think about:

Wikipedia on Child Pornography

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Great Human Trafficking Headlines from Last Week

Washington Post has an article on Courtney's House May 21, 2010 by Petula Dvorak
Human Trafficking Isn't Just Overseas

Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City partners with Somaly Mam
Bloomberg Against Human Trafficking

Sunday, May 16, 2010

What is Sex Trafficking?

A brutal, hidden and almost-ignored crime is happening in our own neighborhoods all around the world. No matter where you are in the world, in Bangkok, Thailand or Lancaster, Pennsylvania (the heart of Amish country), it is being committed every day, every hour, every second in your own backyard. Women and children are being pimped for sex. Pimping may not sound so bad but it is... The music and entertainment industry has glamorized the pimp so much that most people think it's actually a good job that makes you a lot of money. SO WRONG...

A pimp is a sex trafficker. But what is sex trafficking you may ask. Sex trafficking is the exploitation of persons (even young men are victims) for sexual slavery. What is slavery? Benjamin Skinner, the author of " A Crime So Monstrous: Face-To-Face With Modern-Day Slavery", defines it as "a slave is a human being forced to work through fraud or threat of violence for no pay beyond subsistence." That may sound not too bad either because the average American worker feels that way. But sexual slaves have been forced into prostitution against their will...

They are lured with jobs as waitresses, hairdressers and as nannies but end up in brothels were they are beaten and raped. And a lot of them are abducted right in the middle of city streets, especially young children. What do you think what has happened to most of the people on missing children and missing persons ads? I am afraid to admit that I will not be surprised to find out that a majority of them have become victims of sex trafficking.

Sex trafficking is not yet a legal term but it should be as nations and US states are currently putting human trafficking in their law books. If a sex trafficker is arrested, they are usually only charged with prostitution. Prostitution is a slightly lighter charge than rape. And most of the time, victims of sex trafficking become criminals in the eye of the law because victims out of fear and/or attachment to their pimp/sex trafficker cannot admit that they are actually being coerced into sexual slavery, almost always forcefully pressured into doing sexual favors for strangers. Stories of sex trafficking victims are horrific... They are gang-raped, severely physically abused and murdered. These are the extremes but most victims who escape are seriously psychologically wounded and sometimes physically injured from STDs (sexual-transmitted diseases) and remnants of beatings and mutilations.. Even years after they've been freed from sexual slavery.

So, what are you going to do? Just sit there and read this post and do nothing... I hope not. I hope you are as enraged as I am against this terrible crime against humanity. There are many online resources out there; here are a few...


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Stereotypes & Assumptions

I am a young Asian woman living in the United States. I know there are many Asian women who are being trafficked for sex in the United States and around the world. I am not blind to this. I have been aware of sex trafficking since I was a school child. I just didn't know what it was called until now. In Third World countries like my homeland, the Republic of the Philippines, are trapped into sexual slavery because of poverty and/or the allure of making lots of money in prostitution. In First World countries like the United States of America, they are abducted and beaten & tortured (physically & psychologically) as young girls, average age 13. But not just Asians, but also Caucasians and African-Americans in the US are abducted and enslaved by sex traffickers.

I am a 29 year-old woman who usually is dressed in conventional business clothes because of the dictates of my day job. But on my free time, I can say I dress pretty fashionably and sometimes, a bit on the trendy, rock & roll side. But also because I tend to look 10 to 15 years younger than my actual age, I am mistaken for a high school kid. Today, it was so odd that I was asked for ID when I used my debit card to buy food. I wasn't even buying alcohol or tobacco. I guess the cashier thought I was 15 or 16. Too young to have a card. He must have been shocked to see my birth date. LOL! But this is just the benign side of being a girl and being Asian...

I cannot validate this with anything yet but I believe the area I live in a big hub for sex traffickers. I have just been informed about a few drug houses on a certain street and this street is close to a Montgomery County police station. As I walked on this particular street, it donned on me that this is just the surface because as abolitionists are learning that drug trafficking is closely linked to human trafficking especially sex trafficking. And while I walked on the street, men as they drive by whistle, honk their car horns and call me as if I was a prostitute or a pimp. I was shocked. I was wearing a short summer dress. Not that short... It was only two inches above my knees. It was a conservative length in my view... I was scared and mad at the same time. I really couldn't believe what was happening just because I was wearing a short, sexy dress. It's a terrible assumption. I tried to ignore them but it's hard to especially when you know what they may be thinking. And on this street, small children are living with their families. They play on the streets in the summer. I am more afraid for the little girls than for my own safety.

And then on Sunday afternoon, I saw a woman with shorts & high heels walking from the Silver Spring Metro station. Not a very common sight in downtown Silver Spring at all. But what got me suspicious was her behavior... She had her hair styled like, I'm sorry to say this, a prostitute. She kept looking around as if she was looking for prospective clients or worst... Then she had a black bag that seemed to hold something very precious to her especially when she kept making sure it was secure. Maybe I've been watching too many thriller or mystery movies but these are signs I've learned to pick up on.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Question for Men

I had a few encounters with men at my day-job that has made me question how do men see women... I am a bank customer service representative by day, a modern day abolitionist by night. Just merely asking psychologically perverted men for personal information to allow me to help them makes them say "You need to change your attitude." Writing this right now just boiled my blood again.

Let's get this straight... I am Asian. I am from the Philippines and proud of it. I look very young. I could pass for a high school kid if I tried. I'm 29 now. Thanks to my parents for good genes I guess! I did not arrive in the United States as a sex slave and for that, I am so grateful. I've arrived in America legally. My father who became a naturalized US citizen in December 2000 has petitioned my permanent residency. We even went through an immigration lawyer in New York City. My dad spent three thousand bucks. Three thousand well spent...

But as I look at how these American men (both black and white) see me as one, I feel so disgusted. Just merely knowing that these men see me as a prostitute or former prostitute makes me sick though I am not one and not even thinking about becoming one. I am not a woman who is or will never be promiscuous. If I become enslaved in sexual slavery, I would end up killing myself, if not physically, psychologically. I pray that will never happen to me or my future daughters, nor to my sister, cousins & nieces.

I have been molested as a young girl by men, who were not my father or primary caretakers, whom I thought I could trust. Boy! Was that hard to admit... And from those experiences alone, I already feel dirty & ashamed and I haven't even been raped yet (and thank God). Now that I am an adult, I saw that these three men (yes, three adult men) were sick in the head. They saw me as a sexual plaything which was actually immoral. No human female, young or old, is a sexual toy. Human females are people too. And it makes me realize that if men like them found out that their own mothers, sisters, wives & female kin, they would kill the people who molested & raped them unless they're really immoral people...

And if men in general could not let their women kin be molested or raped, how much more rage will they have if they found out that their female relations are being exploited, abused & raped by sex traffickers? (Maybe this is the question we should ask today's men...)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Some Useful Websites

Polaris Project http://polarisproject.org
The leading non-profit organization in the anti-human trafficking crusade. Great resource for a lot of information on human trafficking, modern slavery and other resources & organizations against human trafficking. It also operates the US Human Trafficking Hotline which is 1-888-373-7888

End Slavery Now http://www.endslaverynow.com
End Slavery Now is a site filled with great links to organizations and resources in combatting human trafficking. It's almost a one-stop shop info center on modern-day slavery on the Internet. They list great anti human trafficking organizations. Under the headings in red, Learn, Tell, Report and Act: the site provides great links to fight this great plague.

Love146 http://love146.org
My favorite anti-sexual trafficking organization. There is a heart-wrenching story behind their name. Their main goal is to rehabilitate and reintroduce victims of sexual exploitation especially young children back into society.

Shoe Revolt http://www.shoerevolt.com
Shoe Revolt is an organization based in Newport News, VA which collects shoes and restyle them. It is a collaboration of female shoe designers. Their main goal is to use the profits of the Shoe Revolt to fund the fight against human trafficking. Ateba Crocker, the Founder, has an amazing story behind her passion for victims of sexual exploitation. The famous Hollywood personality, Perez Hilton, has just recently featured Shoe Revolt on his blog.

International Justice Mission http://www.ijm.org
The main Christian organization that has led the US fight against modern slavery since its founding in 1997. Based in Washington DC, it has been the leading adversary of human trafficking on Capitol Hill.

Beauty From Ashes http://www.beautyfromashes.org
Based in Fort Myers, FL, it provides shelter and rehabilitation of sex trafficking victims in Florida. This is a great organization that gets people involved in combatting sexual slavery.

Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking http://www.castla.org
Based in Los Angeles, CA where most Asians and Latin Americans are smuggled in for unpaid domestic and farm work. Remember the Chinese railroad workers of the early 20th century. Well, that kind of slavery still exists in the farms and vineyards of the great state of California. CAST has recently joined forces with the Mexican Consulate in Los Angeles to help eradicate human trafficking in and through Mexico. Love the work they do in Los Angeles where there are many hidden slaves.

Part of the larger organization change.org, it provides the latest news on human trafficking and modern slavery. You can also organize an online petition for social change through this Web site.

DNA Foundation http://demiandashton.org
Founded by the famous celebrity couple Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher, they provide the glitz and glamour of Hollywood in the fight against sex slavery. Demi Moore was just interviewed by Anderson Cooper of the CNN show AC360 about her recent trip to Haiti. She discussed the horrible restavek system that enslaves children to housework, beatings, humiliation and even sexual exploitations.

21st Century Slaves

Hidden, they are not seen
Muted, they are not heard
Chained, they are enslaved
Fearful, they are motionless
With nothing but total obedience
To live on
They live in bondage
With masters with no compassion
For their pain and heartaches
They are caged in cages
Much smaller than animal cages
Beaten, overworked
They get no rest from the torments
Of heartless men and women
Who care more for their wallets
And their pets who do nothing
But frolic in their midst
Treated as multi-purpose machines
They are not just thrown away
When they refuse to work
They are beaten, rape, starved

Monday, April 12, 2010

Creating Human Trafficking Awareness

Living in Washington DC, I am bombarded with ads about defense & technology companies, movements towards vegetarianism and animal rights but nothing about human trafficking. Nothing! There is now currently an ad on Metro trains about the "Great Ape Protection Act." It portrays a picture of a sad female gorilla. The print talks about her losing her baby to some inhumane act. I was aghast... I mean this is for an ape, an animal we barely understand. But what about a human mother... Is it too close for comfort to show a mother mourning for her lost child? How can animal rights organizations have more funding than human rights agencies? Our priorities are skewed... In New York City, I remember seeing a large billboard or two about ten years ago advertising Amnesty International driving out of the MidTown Tunnel towards Queens. Now, all I see in the Big Apple are billboards for fashion labels, TV shows & movies. I know we are just coming out of a recession but why is the nation's advertising dollars spent not spent on bettering the human condition. Are we all that self-indulgent? I know most people would rather turn a blind eye and a deaf ear towards the ills of the world but modern slavery has been such a major problem for eons. From prehistoric times up to now... Slavery is barbarism. It is inhumane. And as a free citizen of the world, how can you just live your life taking your freedom for granted when your neighbor is working hard night and day without pay or even a decent place to sleep in and most times, are given the worst food to eat or end up being the food of farm animals themselves? I can't... Compassion isn't compassion if you don't do anything about your brother's or sister's oppression. Refugees are important and so are slaves. Refugees are often slaves themselves. In Haiti, child slavery (restaveks "stay withs") is a major problem. But the world does not know about it... After the major quake that collapsed Port-Au-Prince into ruins, all we heard about is the need for food, clean water & medicine. We barely saw that the real problem was the lack of infrastructure. Still is! And with the earthquake, I am sure the restavek system has gotten far worst. More parents are willing to give up their children to strangers thinking the children will get a good education. But unfortunately, most children end up slaving away 24/7, end up being beaten up and RAPED. This is hard to stomach.

We as a movement against human trafficking must act on getting the world's priorities straight... WE MUST LOBBY HARD, WE MUST ADVERTISE BIG. Look at the tobacco companies!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Domestic Servitude in the Philippines

I grew up in the Philippines but I was fortunate to be one of the privileged ones. I had more than food & shelter. I had a good education. I was even able to travel here to the United States and back without much hindrance. Not many Filipinos can say they graduated from an American university. I can... And now I live and work in Washington DC living a very happy peaceful life compared to most people of the world, even than a majority of Washingtonians. I am so grateful to God for that. In the Philippines, if you could afford it, you would have household servants. Ever heard the Filipino word "yaya"? It means someone who takes care of a child. I had yayas until I went to live with my dad for six months in New York when I was 10. That was the only time when I hadn't had a yaya tending to me. Then when I went back to the Philippines, I shared one with my brother until I was 13 or 14. Teen years is when you want your independence. Right? Maybe it's my experience living in America that I find it atrocious that yayas are slaving away making sure your child doesn't get hurt or dirty at a children's party while you are chit-chatting away with other mothers on the other side of the room. I am not yet a mother but I don't know if I was one living in the Philippines if I could let a yaya stand by my child throughout the whole party while I gossiped with the other mothers. Right now, I do my own cooking and chores because I am in the United States. But if I was in the Philippines, I might have ended up still being a spoiled brat having a chaffeur, a maid, a cook, a washer woman, a gardener maybe and I was just one single woman living in a big house for a family of four or six. I'm okay with having household help now and then but it makes well-to-do Filipinos, especially the women, lazy. My mother never taught me how to cook but I learned anyway... Through trial and effort, I am making progress. I don't cook all the time but I actually enjoy it. Filipinos shouldn't rely on them too much. They need to live their own lives too. I've heard of some maids being abused by their employers. Gosh! There's Filipino movies & TV shows filled with both household servants and farm workers being abused by their employers. It is a huge part of modern Filipino culture etched long before the Spaniards came to rule us for their king and queen for 333 years. But the way we treat these people doesn't put the individual into account as a human being just like us... It's a sad situation...

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Invisible Slaves

In our midst in every major city in the world and even in small towns are women & children (and sometimes men) who are being abused & exploited in ways no average person can imagine or comprehend. These are the victims of human trafficking. And there are supposedly 27 million of them and I am afraid even more...

Most victims, especially ones who are used as sex slaves in Europe, are lured by a promise of a good paying job. In most cases, human traffickers put up a front of being legitimate businesses to pull in young women desperately in need of a job to support their families. But in the end, most are beaten & raped by the human traffickers themselves before they are even exploited for the traffickers to make profit out of them.

Southeast Asia has been a haven of the sex tourism trade. From Thailand to the Philippines, young girls are forcefully coerced into doing sexual favors for men from the United States, Australia, Europe and even Japan. But today, Greece has become the hub of sexual slavery for women from eastern Europe especially former Soviet Union states. Greece is the geographical gateway of poor eastern Europe to the rich western European Union member nations. From here, women are smuggled to as far away as London and Amsterdam.

Unfortunately, even the United States is not immune to the horror of human trafficking. Young American girls are abducted and forced into sexual slavery by the so-called "pimps." I live in Washington, DC the capital of the most powerful nation of the 21st century but even here, it is rampant. Fortunately, there are many organizations who are helping these girls escape and recover from the trauma of the abuse & exploitation of sexual slavery. But we just don't want safe houses for these women, we want human trafficking abolished...

Human trafficking does not only include sexual slavery.... Human trafficking is basically the exploitation of cheap or free labor. Human traffickers are modern day slave traders. Young children are forced to work in harsh conditions a sane adult would not want to even be in to gather cocoa beans, yes the ones that make our chocolate bars... And you thought children armies were bad.

Human trafficking is one of the major problems facing our world today but it is ignored. Why? Because we want to believe that slavery has been abolished here in the United States centuries ago... It hasn't. It has just taken different forms, far more virulent than the ones during colonial times. Sexual slavery (or should I just call it what it is, prostitution) has helped spread AIDS and STDs to where they are now. Child labor has taken the rights of children not just for a free education but more importantly, to a happy childhood. And there are many forms of modern slavery other than these...

Human trafficking must be put in the forefront of the world media along with AIDS and fighting poverty. They go hand in hand. The spread of AIDS would be diminished by a large measure if we made it harder for pimps to do business. Poverty creates desperation and that desperation leads to harsh consequences that most victims cannot come out of. We must take a stand against human trafficking. If PETA can create headline news about animal cruelty, can't we create bigger headline news against human cruelty? Aren't people more important than animals?