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20 Jahre Tatort – Straßen der Welt e.V.

20 Jahre Tatort – Straßen der Welt e.V.

20 Jahre Tatort – Straßen der Welt e.V.

06.02.2020 Reflections by Fr. Shay Cullen, - Human Slavery, Trafficked into Bondage

The enslavement of innocent youth into sex trafficking is almost always by means of human contact through pimps and human traffickers. They offer money and inducement. The victims are seduced by peer group members and groomed on social media. Although forbidden by law, local governments allow the sex trafficking of children and youth when they issue permits and licenses to sex bars and brothels. 

The victims are innocent children and youth inexperienced in the world and easily influenced, enticed and introduced into “dating” older men by pimps or are lured into sex bars and held in debt bondage by dependence on drugs. It has become a common practice and thousands of young girls are sexually exploited every month around Metro Manila and adjoining cities and towns. It is prevalent everywhere. 

It’s a fact that one in four girls is sexually abused at least once in their lifetime. Many run away from home as a result and are trafficked into the sex trade. The demand is persistent, abusive men even consider it an entitlement to abuse minors and disregard and circumvent laws forbidding it with the help of human traffickers, corrupt police and sex tourist hotels and resort owners. There are high class pimps and traffickers that are catering to the wealthy elite who demand such evil sexual satisfaction, dominance and control of other human beings as if it was their right and privilege. 

Jemma is only 15 years old and her life fell apart in 2017 when her caring father, a tricycle driver earning for his family, was shot dead by police who were sent to kill a neighbor who was suspected of selling illegal drugs. The father of Jemma was caught in the wild shooting by police.  There is an estimated 27,000 people killed in recent years. 

She became depressed and joined her friends in hanging around their favorite restaurant. There, a pimp Alvin Nicholas, nicknamed Maja, joined them and persuaded Jemma and her other friends to go and “walk,” that is- have sexual relations with older men and earn a lot of money. That’s how she became a victim of human trafficking. She was sexually exploited by traffickers four times before being rescued by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) anti-trafficking unit and the pimp has been charged with human trafficking in Pasig. Jemma was brought to the Preda home for trafficked children for recovery, therapy, healing and to start a new way of life with dignity, values and education together with Aldana. 

Aldana, also 15 years of age, had problems with her parents. She became rebellious and dropped out of school and left home to stay with her friends. One night, other members of her group introduced her to two men. They raped her and she was traumatized and shocked and became sick with venereal disease. She returned to her parents and spent two weeks in hospital. Aldana was unable to reconcile with her parents and she left home again. She had very low self-esteem and was depressed. 

She stayed in the house of Dazel, who was a pimp, and she was pressured and persuaded to go with men and earn money to pay for her board and lodging in the house of Dazel. Soon, she was earning 3000 pesos, the equivalent of $60 a day. Then the other pimp, Alvin Nicholas, invited her to go with sex tourists and she did it for the money. 

One day Aldana was invited to eat lunch at a restaurant and meet new clients with the pimp Alvin Nicholas. The new “customers” turned out to be NBI undercover agents and they rescued the children and Alvin Nicholas was arrested and is now charged with human trafficking. The inalienable rights of the children to their human dignity, a life of quality and freedom were violated. They were frequently raped and sexually exploited.

As I have previously written, an estimated 24.5 million adults, children and youth have been victims and were trafficked worldwide in the past decade by organized crime syndicates. Human traffickers are criminals who operate in many ways. Most of the 24.5 million victims are women and 33 percent are children. These are estimates and can vary.

The victims of human trafficking are almost always poor, unemployed, not well educated and vulnerable. Many minors come from broken families, are abandoned, and left with a distant relative who neglects them and treats them as a servant or sells them to traffickers for a promised job in a hotel or as a domestic helper. They are frequently abused, underpaid and sexually exploited. 

In the Philippines, 60,000 women and minors are estimated by Unicef to be victims of human trafficking into sex trade; other sources say as many as 100,000 are victims. The traffickers are men and women and sometimes teenagers without moral values or conscience who make a lot of money by tricking, cheating, and luring these young people away from their homes or wherever they live into situations where they are trapped, abused, and exploited. Their rights as human persons are gravely violated. These rights are universal they apply to one and all without exception. No matter their situation in life, these rights are theirs and ought never be taken away, reduced, suspended or violated.  

Massive changes have occurred in the world in the past twenty years. The social acceptance of child sexual molestation and abuse was once prevalent and it was seen as “fun,” a “game,” something the child wanted. Now seen for what it is, a serious crime and a violation of human rights and dignity and carrying life sentences in some countries. With this positive change, child sexual molestation and abuse and human trafficking must end. Everyone is challenged to join the advocacy and campaign to end it once and forever.