Human Trafficking

Columban Fr. Shay Cullen lives and works in the Philippines.
June 29, 2012

In the Philippines an estimated 60,000 commercially sexually exploited children are suffering abuse and lost childhoods according to a UNICEF estimate. There are stringent laws against it that are not being enforced. It is a twenty billion dollar worldwide trade in humans, and it involves the slavery of women and children. Many underage girls and boys are forced into drug use in order to control them and are beaten if they disobey the pimps and traffickers. There are few convictions of child abusers and traffickers. Charges of child abuse or trafficking despite strong evidence are mysteriously dropped by prosecutors or judges and the suspects go free, usually the decision says for “lack of evidence.”
I can never forget the 11 year-old child Angelica rescued by PREDA social workers. Although the PREDA Foundation brought charges against her pimp, endless delays and postponements by the court caused the child additional trauma. There was no justice, no healing for her. More privileges are given by the courts to the accused.

When Angelica was first rescued she was withdrawn, saw herself as worthless. Her life was over before it had begun. Eventually with therapy, support, encouragement and the loving family of children and staff at the PREDA home for abused children, she grew stronger and overcame the worst of her trauma. Unfortunately, the psychological wounds will never fully heal.

It is a great evil that comes from the “do what you like” permissive attitude of city officials whereby sex tourists can abuse and exploit women and children with deference and impunity.
This is stark evidence that the sex industry is corrupting families and spreading child abuse in the community. Few officials seem not to care, and the church leadership is silent. All who truly believe in defending human rights, protecting women and children and truly care for people and Filipino dignity will never tolerate this. It is a shameful dirty business that is destroying innocent lives we need do all we can to see it closed down and redeem the dignity of the Filipino people.