"In societies where Robbing Hoods are treated like a celebrity it is but natural to expect political parties to act like a Mafia syndicate" Political Jaywalker "In a nation where corruption is endemic people tend to confuse due process with aiding and abetting criminals" Political Jaywalker "War doesn't determine who is right, war determines who is left" Bertrand Russell "You have just one flash flood of money, you keep your people poor. It's like a time bomb and it's scary" Philippine Lawmaker

Bloggers Unite-Against Peddlers of Human Misery & Corruption

Bloggers Unite
In solidarity with members of Bloggers Unite for Human Rights at Blog Catalog, a post to highlight the vulnerability of women in poor countries victimized by their circumstance in human trafficking and sexual bondage.

As always, greed and poverty is the driving force of peddlers of human misery in the thriving business of human trafficking of sex slaves in a nation run by fraudulent cheats robbing the Philippine citizenry out of opportunity to pursue legitimate decent livelihood. Human trafficking is now the third most profitable “business” of organized crime next to drugs and guns, their success dependent on corrupt law enforcement agencies in an environment where pervasive poverty exist as their major source of never ending supply.

Marcelina Carpizo of the Katilingban sa Kalambuan Inc. and Center for Peace and Development in the Western Mindanao State University did a research on human trafficking in 2006 as published in Newsbreak. A heart wrenching description of the trade victimizing desperate women running out of legitimate options, unthinkable as it may seem on the descriptive report, which I quote:

The waters were rough. They were told to duck, to hide under sacks, and to make sure they weren’t seen by passing vessels. Many times, they were nauseous but it seemed like a small price to pay for what they were told the future held for them.

Unlike the women who pass through the international airport in Clark, Pampanga, the more adventurous ones who dare leave the country without papers or travel documents exit through Zamboanga’s ports and head for Jolo and Bongao Port in Tawi-Tawi. They hide in Taganak Island or the Turtle Islands where they stay for a couple of days and are transported, disguised as barter, to Malaysia. Some first head towards Sitangkay in Tawi-Tawi or Sandakan in Malaysia but follow the route to Sabah.

They wait to board cargo boats that engage in barter in Malaysia, or fishing vessels that traverse the seas and stop in smaller islands where they wait to be picked up by other vessels for the continuation of their journey. The stay in Tawi-Tawi can be indefinite. It can take from two to three days, depending on how long it takes to fill the vessel with passengers who pay from P2,000 to P2,500 each, says Gerald Imperial of CATW-AP or the Coalition Against Trafficking of Women-Asia Pacific.
Why do women risk everything is beyond comprehension? What entices them to travel with fake documents or none at all in the backdoor at that on mere promise of dollar wages just don't make sense? Dollar wages even on a mere promise is good enough a sum they could never imagine making in their lifetime in a god forsaken poverty-stricken community where they left off. They willingly take the peddlers of human miseries’ promises as if it was the gospel of truth only to find themselves trapped and imprisoned in a place that can be likened to a hell hole. What seems to be an escape from hell that turns out to be worse in a place of torment inhabited by perverts of all kinds with dirty rotten scoundrels of slave masters flaunting their trade with impunity. A trade so despicable able to operate with the willing cooperation of equally inhumane greedy corrupt to the core law enforcers of a nation with a very low Human trafficking scores from the UN. Unthinkable as it is in a country of destination where majority are Muslims where prostitution are supposedly not tolerated.

How do they get the women to fall for their fraud can be mostly attributed to poverty and rampant corruption coupled with ignorance and inept thieving leaders winning their seat through guns, goons and gold with the blessing of math wizards from the comelec. Is it because in a nation where it is difficult to distinguish a criminal from a politician in the mismanagement and looting of the public coffers that they do not see the dangers they faced? In a place where petty graft and corruption are felt on a daily basis, it comes as no surprise why they are swayed to skirt the law. Desperate people will fall for the scam of traveling with fake documents because of the prevailing culture of corruption. They see and know first hand that going around the “law” where perjury and fraudulently faking of public documents as “normal,” once caught does not even merit a slap in the hand. How can they fathom the consequence of breaking some minor law of fraudulently faking their documents when they see rampant cheating in elections, graft and corruption all the way to the presidential level? In this scenario they become easy target and swindled to this route by unscrupulous peddlers of human misery in their desperation to escape poverty.

The mechanics of human trafficking as reported on Newsbreak according to Ferdinand Lavin, chief of the Anti-Trafficking Division of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI):
If these people were recruited in the Visayas or Mindanao, they have to be transported to the urban centers, because the urban centers are the places for exploitation.
Recruiters usually scout for potential recruits in local communities, aided by headhunters who know the community and its residents well enough. These headhunters’ help recruiters convince parents to allow their children to leave. Often, the recruiters give parents cash, making it even more tempting for them to send their children to work.

To facilitate transit, a recruit's personal documents, such as his or her birth certificate, are faked. Once in transit, they are not allowed to talk to anyone outside the group and to handle their legal or travel papers.

Upon reaching their destination, the recruits are told that their transportation expenses, along with other incurred expenses, would be deducted from their salary. Having huge debts to pay, they then begin to work, not as salesladies or caregivers or any other job promised them, but as prostitutes, laborers on bondage, or even beggars, according to the TUCP primer.

Human trafficking schemes while simplistic on the surface are elaborate in its operation crossing international borders involving a myriad of paper trail using faked documentations through criminal connivance of people in the travel industry and corrupt government agencies under the manipulation of crime syndicates. So elaborate that from ports to airports, ship crews lend “show money” with usurious interest of just holding the money for a few minutes. Expenses that add considerably to the debt bondage scheme forcing the victims to be at the mercy of sex den operators to do their bidding.

Airlines crews in connivance with unscrupulous travel agencies (responsible for producing fake passports and faked birth certificates to visas and ticketing) and recruiters arrange with immigration personnel the facilitation of trafficked victims out of the country for a fee, which is a common knowledge according to one former immigration officer used to be assigned at the airport. A sad vicious cycle of predators and victims of both nations that can only be accomplished with equally corrupt and greedy government agencies and private enterprises all driven by one thing…… dirty blood money in their stinking pockets.

Only individuals with no shred of conscience in their soul so dark and so cruel in their greed are capable of doing such dastardly act and in a society with pervasive culture of corruption, sadly these low life’s abound like flies in a cow dung. The mismanagement of corrupt rotten local and national leaders sees the blossoming of these types of criminals in a society that has numbingly been reduced to apathy owing to the ills they see on a daily basis as part of the normal daily grind. How sad and tragic that in this day and age we see these grandstanding shameless leaders acting as if they are the superheroes out to save the downtrodden masses out of their misery when they are the master scheming connivers in fostering human miseries in our midst.

Sad and pathetic indeed and while we may lament and target other nations as the evil exploiters of third world societies such as the Philippines this would not have prospered have we not given them the opportunity to “practice their trade in the local level. Just ask any expat owner of clubs in the Philippines and most likely they have encountered local pimps offering sex slaves from local crime syndicates that has not gone international, just yet anyways. The Philippines itself does not have a clean record or ratings when it comes to sexual slavery luring naïve desperate poor women and their families from the far flung barrios that does not know any better.

On the brighter side the Philippines passed the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003, or Republic Act (RA) 9208, as a response to the UN convention. Seen as part of the country's commitment as a signatory to the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women, and to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. RA 9208 set up policies to eliminate trafficking in persons, especially of women and children. It also established the necessary mechanisms to curb the problem, and imposed penalties of as much as P5 million and life imprisonment. Despite all this, a law is only as good on the paper that is written on it if there is no political will to enforce the same.

According to the US State Department's Human Rights Report in 2005 in the Philippines 400,000 women are trafficked annually. All over the world, over 800,000 are trafficked across different countries every year, in a research done by the US government in 2006.

That is a lot of people, mostly women and children, suffering in silence, their stories unknown and hidden in the underground global business that generates about US$12 billion a year. Away from their home, trafficked persons end up in brothels, sweatshops, farms, or in any other place they were made to believe was paradise.

These mind boggling figures does not correspond to the puny number of convictions attributed to human traffickers. To date, there have been eight convictions for human trafficking, according to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT): two of them in Zamboanga, four in Quezon City, and two in Batangas City. The number of 400,000 victimized against 8 convictions does not make any sense at all, are the law enforcers inept or corrupt, perhaps a combination of both?

While the US has raised the status of the Philippines to tier 2 (a classification meaning the Philippines is exerting some effort to ward off the crime) it took a warning of being in the watch list for the Philippine government to respond to this problem. Despite all these we see a dismal number of convictions, is it because of corruption and protection money for the taking and lack of political will that we just cannot seem to put a dent to this criminal enterprise?

The psychological devastation of some of these women are just unfathomable when they try in vain to rationalize what have become of them engulfed in the fangs of life in prostitution transforming them to become hard core free lancing prostitutes.

Shattered with unimaginable abuse and exploitation with no one to turn to for justice they have become part of the vicious cycle of pain, exploitation and sexual abuse by being a recruiter themselves bringing in fresh women to the prostitution den they used to work for the extra hard cash. How can these be possible? How can they inflict the same pain they endured towards others they survived to turn into the same monsters that victimized them? Is it because after all these inhumane suffering and misery they are treated as criminals instead of victims?

Instead of being rescued once the “authorities conduct a raid on the establishment they are incarcerated in a horrible holding cells cramped like sardines treated like lowly common criminals by the “host” governments such as Malaysia and other sexual slavery consumer countries found in the middle east and elsewhere. In Malaysian detention centers they are allowed just five minutes to bathe and 15 minutes to wash their clothes. Their meal consists of a small piece of dried fish and some eggplant for food provided in plastic sheets where they also eat and sleep. To make matter worse while cramped in the detention center that can last up to 3 months some Malaysian officials insinuate bribery to speed up facilitation of deportation papers. How sick and perverted can these people get? These women loss whatever dignity they have as if adding insult to injury they even have to bribe their way out for crimes committed against them is just so revolting and repulsive. Do they expect these women to just forget about their unspeakable suffering and “move on”?

The Philippine consulates is of no help either when instead of pursuing the perpetrators and justice for the victims of inhumanity to its citizen their avowed goal seems to be on asking for repatriation money or plane fare to get them back home unmindful of the psychological and social consequence of what they have been through. Most of these consular officials gained their position through patronage politics and political favors thus they are inept and unqualified to help protect our citizens in distress. How I wish these morons as dumb as they are will one day imagine themselves in the shoes of these women……. Things happen, at the rate this human tragedy unfolds so rampantly with human traffickers resorting to kidnapping hopefully their daughters, sisters, and mothers do not become one of the victims…. While I will not wish for this to happen to anyone of these leaders maybe that is what it takes for our so-called leaders to get their act together and be the true genuine leaders we sorely lack.

Every now and then we hear of stories on the plight of our OFW like “Melissa” trapped with nowhere to turn to with no money and passport at the hand of her evil employer. Trapped in a situation where escaping can have dire consequence when local police who instead of rescuing victims like “Melissa” are returned to the pervert masters. If she is “lucky” to be saved by the Philippine consular staff they may get her home bringing with her the traumatic loss of dignity of integrity. There should be a court where victims are able to seek justice especially when you hear of a welfare fraud convict whose concept of lewd and embarrassment is showing a women’s neck and head to be immoral so it has to be covered by a hijab. If some convict in jail has the gall to seek damages for having her neck and head exposed then how come the women victims of sexual slavery particularly in Muslim dominated countries are treated like criminals? If this is really the prevailing morality afforded to their women so pure why do they treat our women like a sub-human commodity. Is it because these are punishment they deemed they deserve because they are of the “infidels” and as such in a perverted jihad’s mindset they are “enemies” they can feast on with their lust, perversion and unimaginable cruelty.

Perverts of the criminal syndicate and individual kind succeeds in their vile ways because most of the women suffers in silence, traumatized and afraid of hypocrites with wagging tongues adding insult to injury. The comfort women victims of WW2 in the twilight of their years have broken their silence and I believe the victims of sexual abuse in the hundreds of thousands should do the same and band together. File a class action suit against the government of the country and those responsible to have allowed such abuses to happen. They should include the Philippine government in their class action suit for their corrupt and inept government agencies that has transformed the nation into a major supplier of sexual slaves.

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