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