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    Two Filipinos included in The Guardian’s report on modern-day slavery

    From GMA News:

    British newspaper The Guardian published a report on Saturday about modern-day slavery, and it’s gone viral. As of this writing, the story has been shared on Facebook over 1,500 times and has garnered over 4,000 reactions.

    “More than 200 years since it was abolished, slavery is thriving,” writers Annie Kelly and Kate Hodal said in the article. They cite a report from the UN International Labour Organisation, which estimates that “21 million people around the world are trapped in some form of modern slavery.”

    The newspaper told the stories of 10 people from all over the world “who have experienced it first-hand.” Of the 10, two were Filipinos.

    There was Elvira, who “managed to make a bold escape, waiting until her ‘employer’ was taking a nap before running to a nearby church for sanctuary,” write Kelly and Hodal.

    She was first sent to Qatar, where the family she worked for paid her less than what they agreed in her contract. “I called the agency in the Philippines for help, but they never answered…I fought with my employer about my salary, but he would say: ‘Your contract is just a piece of paper’,” Elvira narrated.

    Her employers in Qatar told Elvira they will let her go home, if she first went to work for one of their sisters based in London. There, she “worked all the time, without a day off, and slept on the floor by her bed.”

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    Cops rescue 6 female minors being pimped to foreign tourists

    The two sisters’ decisive action results in the arrest of 3 suspected female pimps and the rescue of 4 girls aged 13, 14, 15, and 17

    By Jun A. Malig, Rappler

    Pseudonyms have been used for the minors in this story to protect their identities.

    ANGELES CITY, Philippines – Minutes after allegedly being sexually abused by a Japanese tourist, sisters Elisa, 16, and Emma, 13 (not their real names), realized they could no longer endure their ordeal and decided to end it by seeking help.

    On Tuesday, July 25, the two sisters’ decisive action resulted in the arrest of 3 suspected female pimps and the rescue of 4 girls aged 13, 14, 15, and 17.

    Around 4:00 p.m. last July 21, Ronaldo Quizon, a member of the Angeles City Traffic Development Office, was manning the flow of vehicles along the red light district of Fields Avenue in Balibago village when the sisters approached him for help.

    The two girls told Quizon that they were allegedly raped by a male Japanese tourist inside one of the rooms of 1st Avenue Hotel located along First Street, a few hundred meters away from Fields Avenue.

    The girls pointed at a Japanese man, who ran away after seeing that they were talking with the traffic regulator.

    Quizon followed the Japanese tourist, identified later as Michichiro Suzumura, 43, who went inside JJ’s Supermarket.

    Quizon stood outside the market, waiting for Suzumura to come out. After several minutes, he decided to go inside the store, arrested the Japanese tourist and brought him to a nearby police station.

    Chief Inspector Aris Gonzales said police investigators found out that Suzumura had been receiving text messages from pimps, offering him sex with minor females as young as 13 years old in exchange for a few thousand pesos.

    Policemen then laid out a plan to entrap the pimps. They exchanged text messages with the pimps using Suzumura’s mobile phone.

    On July 25, policemen were able to arrest Cyrille Lazaga, 18; Jessica Dimarucut, 18; and Mary Ann Abundo, 21 – young women suspected to be the ones sending text and multi-media messages to Suzumura.

    The police operatives were also able to rescue 4 minor females in a follow-up operation.

    The arrested suspects are facing charges for violation of Republic Act 9208, the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act; violation of Republic Act 7610, the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act; and violation of Republic Act 9775, the Anti-Child Pornography Act.

    The 6 minor women were turned over to the City Social Welfare and Development Office for debriefing and related assistance. – Rappler.com

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    Woman Nabbed in Bohol for Using Girls in Cybersex

    Authorities rescue 4 girls, among them two minors, who were forced to perform livestreamed sexual acts for foreigners

    From Rappler:

    CYBERSEX SUSPECT. A 31-year-old woman is arrested in Bohol for allegedly using girls in cybersex operations. Photo courtesy of International Justice Mission

    CYBERSEX SUSPECT. A 31-year-old woman is arrested in Bohol for allegedly using girls in cybersex operations. Photo courtesy of International Justice Mission

    MANILA, Philippines – Authorities arrested a woman who allegedly exploited 4 girls, among them two minors, in a cybersex operation in Bohol.MANILA, Philippines – Authorities arrested a woman who allegedly exploited 4 girls, among them two minors, in a cybersex operation in Bohol.

    On Friday, July 21, the Women and Children Protection Center (WCPC) – Visayas Field Unit and the WCPC Calape Police Office arrested a 31-year-old woman in Calape, Bohol, reported the civil society group International Justice Mission (IJM) in a statement.

    The woman was allegedly caught “offering the girls, including the minors who were aged 12 and 15, to perform live-streamed sexual acts online” for foreigners “for $150 (around P7,600) per girl,” said the IJM.

    At the crime scene, police seized the phone she supposedly used in producing the lewd videos. Money transfer receipts and several other smartphones in her possession were also seized.

    The suspect is detained at the Calape Police Station. She will face charges for violating Republic Act (RA) 9208 or the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act, RA 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act, and other related laws. (READ: Cybersex, media, privacy, and the cybercrime law).

    The 4 girls rescued from the suspect by the Bohol Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office are now under the protective custody of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

    The DSWD also took the suspect’s 12-year-old son, who was found in the crime scene during the operation, for assessment.

    The WCPC acted on a tip from a confidential informant, leading to the alleged trafficker’s arrest. “The police online investigation and field surveillance confirmed that the suspect was facilitating these shows from her residence in Barangay Sta. Cruz, Calape, Bohol,” the IJM said.

    IJM-Cebu director of legal interventions Lucille Dejito emphasized that active law enforcement is needed “to bring online sexual exploitation of children (OSEC) incidents [to] the surface.”

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    UNANIMA Co-Sponsors Showcase of the Sustainability Leadership of Filipina and Filipino Natives

    From the June UNANIMA Newsletter:

    The second event UNANIMA co-sponsored at the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues focused on the topic of agency of indigenous peoples and how their practices and partnerships are contributing to development in their locales. The panel was moderated by UI Research Assistant, Celia Martin, NDS (pictured fourth from left above), and featured three indigenous persons from the Philippines. Filipina panelist Venerva Amil spoke of her experience as a student in an education program run by the Presentation Sisters on her home island. The program has increased school attendance and literacy rates among girls in a community in which most girls are married by age 14. As a graduate of the program, Venerva continues to explore and define her place in society by teaching and empowering other young women to resist gender-based oppression.

    Her co-panelist, Edwina Quialquial, described a series of wellness initiatives offered in her community, including a Montessori pre-school, parenting and housekeeping classes for adults, health clinic to encourage the management of the tuberculosis outbreaks that plague the community, and a youth council that contributes to the proceeding of the official Tribal Council. They are also developing a school curriculum that allows local wisdom, language and culture to be passed down to the rising generation.

    A third panelist, Pablito Gonzales, described his work as an advocate for the preservation of biodiversity on his home island of Negros. The people of Negros face many challenges to their natural environment, including mining activities, deforestation, and commercial, “monocrop” agriculture. “Monocropping,” is the practice of planting the same, single crop on the same plot of land year after year without rest or rotation. In the Philippines, major corporations use this practice on sugar cane plantations which they establish by taking over indigenous land with the promise to hire local indigenous people to work on the plantations. The practice quickly depletes the soil while bringing about the “extinction” of land-related indigenous knowledge, systems, practices, and spirituality. Gonzales works to stop this trend toward environmental and cultural devastation by staging awareness programs and campaigns within Negros’ indigenous community. His group has created a petition to stop deforestation, opened a school for the conferment of traditional environmental knowledge on young people, and engaged encroaching corporations in dialogue about the indigenous rights upon which their operations are infringing.

    Collectively, these examples of indigenous action demonstrated the power of indigenous agency to keep the sustainability in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. Video clips of the event are available: Venerva,EdwinaPablito.

    Click here to read the rest of the newsletter

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    My Family’s Slave

    Alex Tizon for The Atlantic

    She lived with us for 56 years. She raised me and my siblings without pay. I was 11, a typical American kid, before I realized who she was.

    The ashes filled a black plastic box about the size of a toaster. It weighed three and a half pounds. I put it in a canvas tote bag and packed it in my suitcase this past July for the transpacific flight to Manila. From there I would travel by car to a rural village. When I arrived, I would hand over all that was left of the woman who had spent 56 years as a slave in my family’s household.The ashes filled a black plastic box about the size of a toaster. It weighed three and a half pounds. I put it in a canvas tote bag and packed it in my suitcase this past July for the transpacific flight to Manila. From there I would travel by car to a rural village. When I arrived, I would hand over all that was left of the woman who had spent 56 years as a slave in my family’s household.

    Her name was Eudocia Tomas Pulido. We called her Lola. She was 4 foot 11, with mocha-brown skin and almond eyes that I can still see looking into mine—my first memory. She was 18 years old when my grandfather gave her to my mother as a gift, and when my family moved to the United States, we brought her with us. No other word but slave encompassed the life she lived. Her days began before everyone else woke and ended after we went to bed. She prepared three meals a day, cleaned the house, waited on my parents, and took care of my four siblings and me. My parents never paid her, and they scolded her constantly. She wasn’t kept in leg irons, but she might as well have been. So many nights, on my way to the bathroom, I’d spot her sleeping in a corner, slumped against a mound of laundry, her fingers clutching a garment she was in the middle of folding.

    To our American neighbors, we were model immigrants, a poster family. They told us so. My father had a law degree, my mother was on her way to becoming a doctor, and my siblings and I got good grades and always said “please” and “thank you.” We never talked about Lola. Our secret went to the core of who we were and, at least for us kids, who we wanted to be.To our American neighbors, we were model immigrants, a poster family. They told us so. My father had a law degree, my mother was on her way to becoming a doctor, and my siblings and I got good grades and always said “please” and “thank you.” We never talked about Lola. Our secret went to the core of who we were and, at least for us kids, who we wanted to be.

    After my mother died of leukemia, in 1999, Lola came to live with me in a small town north of Seattle. I had a family, a career, a house in the suburbs—the American dream. And then I had a slave.

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    UNODC Goodwill Ambassador Nadia Murad raises her voice to make world listen about human trafficking crimes

    From UNODC:

    23 May 2017 – “I am so happy to hear that some of the girls kidnapped from their school in Chibok, Nigeria, were released,” UNODC Goodwill Ambassador for Human Trafficking, Nadia Murad, told a packed meeting hall during the Crime Commission on 22 May.

    Ms. Murad said she identified with the young survivors of the kidnapping by the armed group Boko Haram, but was also concerned about those who remained behind. “I can imagine what those girls, who are still in captivity, are facing every day, because my own relatives and friends are still suffering the same,” she added.

    Compassion for others is at the heart of Ms. Murad’s work as the UNODC  Goodwill Ambassador for Dignity for Survivors of Human Trafficking. She has spoken movingly about her own brutal experiences at the hands of ISIL in the North of Iraq, and she has always done so in the hope of uniting the world against the horrors of trafficking.

    Speaking about the impact of human trafficking, Ms. Murad said “trafficking aims to dehumanise the victims, to separate them from their own culture and community, to reduce them to objects to be commercialised.” The crime was also linked to conflict and insecurity she noted, “It is used to fund the perpetrators’ violence, which means that the buying and selling of human beings is helping to continue this cycle of terror, enveloping ever more victims.”

    This view was stressed by UNODC Chief, Yury Fedotov, during his own speech at the high-level meeting. He said, “2017 has proven to be another deadly year for thousands of migrants and refugees across the world, many of whom were seeking to escape conflict and violence. Conflicts create favourable conditions for traffickers.”

    Help was needed to turn victims into the survivors of human trafficking, said Ms. Murad. She admitted it was difficult, if not impossible to completely heal from the experience of being trafficked, but post-conflict assistance and psychological support were critical if survivors were to rebuild their lives.

    Her statement also contained a very special commitment to the survivors of human trafficking. “I will do all I can to make the world pay more attention to these crimes, and to take action to hold perpetrators accountable under the full force of the law.” She said the criminal treatment of women and children can never be tolerated and the perpetrators must face justice.

    Ms. Murad closed her statement with a reflection on her important role. “In speaking out about my own experiences, I hope that the other survivors of human trafficking will be able to find the strength and the dignity that is always inside us,” she said.

    Other speakers at the event included: Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Representative of the Board of Trustees, UN Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, and Marijana Savic, Director of the Serbian NGO Atina.

    The UN is increasingly engaged in building support against human trafficking, including where it stems from conflict, as well as in refugee and migration situations.  This is evident in the UN Security Council’s adoption of its first resolution in 2015 to counter human trafficking in conflict situations, and the UN General Assembly’s Summit for Refugees and Migrants in 2016.

    At the end of the summit in the New York Declaration, countries committed themselves to greater efforts to combat human trafficking, ensure protection and assistance to victims and implement relevant international instruments, including the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the Protocols against human trafficking and migrant smuggling.

    On 4 and 5 September, the UN General Assembly will hold a thematic discussion on migrant smuggling, human trafficking and contemporary forms of slavery in Vienna to strengthen action against the traffickers.

    Further Information:

    26th Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice

    Remarks of UNODC Executive Director at CCPCJ Special event: “Assisting and protecting human trafficking survivors in the context of armed conflict, refugees and mixed migration flows”

    Human trafficking survivor Nadia Murad named UNODC Goodwill Ambassador

    UNODC’s Blue Heart Campaign against Human Trafficking

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    TK Indonesia Commemorates Children’s Day

    CHILDREN DAY COMMEMORATION
    ON APRIL 24, 2017 AT “ST.FRACIS” ELEMENTARY SCHOOL IN PRINGSEWU

    It is always interesting to talk about children and women. Women and children can not be separated. Both women and children are often considered weak persons, so they are vulnerable towards violence , abuse and become the object of the immoral and wicked people. The issues about violence and sexual abuse towards children happen continuously . During one week in April, 2017 there were two small girls from the same area became the rape victims. One girl is 2 years old and the other is 9 years old. We don’t know what sexual pleasure the doer get by raping the two small girls, so he damaged the girls’ future .

    When we visited the family of the victims, the small girls were also at home and met us. One of the girl “Melati” (not the real name) is still in the third grade of Elementary school, and not yet full 9 years old, on August 2017 she will be 9 years old. She told us about the accident: at that time , Melati with the two other small girls were playing near a bridge, where at the river there often people looking for fish. When the three girls were playing a man who was fishing asked Melati to accompany him to take some fish at a certain place. And the other two girls should wait at the bridge. After 40 minutes, the man brought Melati back to the place where her two friends were waiting. The ma gave Melati 4 small fishes. However, Melati cried in pain because blood flowed from her vagina.

    When Melati already back home, she told her parents about her tragic experience. Her parents were shock, and brought her to Puskesmas (Village Health Center), but the officials in the Puskesmas refused to take care Melati there and they suggested her parents to bring Melati to the State Hospital in Pringsewu for getting visum (medical report) . However, when they arrived at the hospital, there was only general practicioner there, so they must come again the hospital on the following day for getting visum from an obstetrician. Melati’s parents also reported to the police about this accident, however, up to now already 2 weeks , the police still do nothing to investigate and to solve the problem.

    (more…)

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    International Women’s Day in Indonesia

    The commemoration of International Womens Day was on March 8, 2017 celebrated in many places in Indonesia. Almost all institutions which work for women right celebrate that day as an important moment to give thank to those who worked hard to help women struggle for getting their right, as so far the women are marginalized, considered having no important role, and just become direct object.

    The commemoration of the International Women’s Day is celebrated in variouus places in the whole world for greeting the success and achievement of the wome’s struggle in various fields, such as economy, politic and social. Women in th whole world commemorate the International Women’s Day each year on March 8 .

    In Pringsewu regency for the first time we commemorated the International Women’s Day. The government in our regency in Pringsewu has good care to the role of women in participating to implement the government’s program. The central and local government make effort toward the year 2030, that in Pringsewu regency will be FREE from Gender Inequity issues.

    Why is International Women’s Day still commemorated? Because up to now, there is still Gender inequity in various places in the world. There is still inequity in various fields, such as education, economy, health, social and politic in the whole world.

    On the International Women’s Day all women in the world were united to shout out the gender inequity which they experienced. On the other hand, the women also apreciated the women’s achievement and success in various field.

    The theme of the International Women’s Day commemoration in this year is ” For Gender Equality”. The reason for using this theme is to speed up the continuity of Development Agenda 2030, which was officially adopted by the world leaders in the United Nations Summit Meeting in 2015, which focused on reducing poverty, hunger and Gender Equity.

    Nowadays, each country celebrate the International Women’s Day in different way. Even, in some countries, the day is considered as an official holiday.

    In the history of the world society social life, especially women are not separated from role division, i.e stereotype role for women and men. This role division, at a certain time become problem. Women who work as public figures , still have to work in domestic domain. It means that women have double burden.

    The International Women’s Day was begun when there was women’s awareness that there is reality about the injustice between men and women. The women want to change this reality, they struggle for achieving the justice between women and men. So the International Women’s Day will be always celebrated and become the foundation for struggling to get the women’s welfare development in the whole world.

    In Indonesia there are similar special days with the International Women’s Day, namely, Mother Day is on December 22, and Kartini Day is on April 21. These two days are important for women, because through the commemoration of these days, the women can remember their right which are not yet fu;filled.

    Whatever activities on March 8, the women organization still have long struggle to abolish discrimination, violence, double standard, double burden towards women, and to change the terrible situation with equity culture, equity behavior, mutual repect between women and men.

    We hope that this commemoration of the International Women’s Day become the basic and historical milestone for our struggle (the women in Pringsewu Regency). We don’t work and struggle alone in our own group, but we work and struggle together through our organization which we have already formed- JMMPO. We work trhough a networking so we can help more people who need our help. In 2016 there are 66 persons reported to us as the victims of trafficking, domestic violence and sexual abuse. We are sure, that there re still kore victims who didn’t report their cases to us. The community need our help . Let’s invite the victims not to be afraid to report their bad experiences. We expect that all violence modus could be ended and the doer won’t commit crime again.

    Let us together

    TO STOP VIOLENCE AND DISCRIMINATION

    TOWARDS WOMEN AND GIRLS.TO MAKE SURE THAT THEY HAVE THE SAME CHANCE IN ALL FIELDS.

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    Talitha Kum Indonesia Commemorates Anti-Trafficking Day

    Together with the commemoration of St. Bakhita Death Day, the patron of trafficking victims on February 8 we commemorated the Anti Trafficking Day. Together with International Talitha Kum which office is in Rome, together with Talitha Kum South East Asia, and Talitha Kum in Indonesia initiated by CWTC-IBSI, we held various activities to remind all Catholic people, especially the Church Leaders, religious men and women, and Church Hierarchy, to pay attention to this Anti Trafficking Day and commemorate this Day each year. What should the Catholic people do to show their care to the trafficking issues? We should make effort to prevent the human dignity humiliation which is experienced by our brothers and sisters who are poor in many things, such as poor of information, poor of knowledge, experience and materials.

    The Catholic Church won’t be interesting anymore, if the Church’s members neglect and leave the Apostles’ inheritance (Act 2: 42-47) which states in our life we should mutual sharing out, mutual taking care, willingly making sacrifice for the sake of others’ soul safety, and don’t be afraid to lose our own soul ( Gospel).

    We feel that our struggle for helping the trafficking victims is so heavy and slow, because there is lack of information and there are only few religious men and women who are willing to work for trafficking issues. We as the CWTC-IBSI boards and activist of Women empowerment have great dream that Catholic Church members in Indonesia, although the total number is small, will be able to become “Salt” for the majority citizens, as far as we work generously and sincerely. God will use us and help us to become His useful and interesting instrument for serving our fellowmen, specially the trafficking victims. Our friends, the interfaith activist still believe that we can be able to become their work-partner, especially in the activities for helping the trafficking victims.

    In the commemoration of Anti Trafficking Day on February 8, 2017 we asked the religious women in Indonesia to pray for the trafficking victims and plead God to send people who are willing to participate in handling the human trafficking issues, so the victims can be helped. The victims are not only women and girls but also men and boys who were recruited for fishing in the middle of the sea.

    PRAYER FOR HUMAN TRAFFICKING VICTIMS

    Merciful God,

    You are deeply sad to look at the human being as your own sons and daughters were used by their fellow men as commodity for getting profit as much as possible. Human being are your highest creation, however, their dignity are humiliated by others. Many of them experienced suffering, mistreating , even death. Give your strength to those who became the victims, and send the good persons to release them from the grip of the human trafficking syndicate.

    Almighty God, help us to have “heart” to involve in taking care the victims. Moreover, encourage us and give us strength to participate in struggling against the human trafficking. Help us to be willing to form mutual network for preventing and also for giving advocacy to the victims. Help the Networking Anti Human Trafficking be able to find more victims. Bless each of our efforts to restore the human dignity which is wounded by the sins of your people. Through Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.

    This prayer is prayed in all areas in Indonesia where CWTC has networking, religious community, boarding houses, schools, and categorical groups.

     

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