COMBATING CHILD PROSTITUTION AND DOMESTIC SEXUAL ABUSE
(republishing, copying, no restrictions)
Father Shay Cullen
The case of suspected child abuser, British
national, Richard Holden, now held in the Immigration Jail in Metro Manila
denied the charges and claims he is being framed up by another jealous and
vindictive Briton in Dumaguete City. The case is one that must be investigated
with respect for the rights of the alleged victims and the accused. The evidence
ought to be gathered. The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)
Undersecretary Celia C. Yangco has assured me that the DSWD officials are
investigating the allegations and looking for the alleged child victims. They
are in discussion with the officials of the Bureau of Immigration.
The roots of child and women trafficking is found in proliferation of the
nation wide sex bars and resorts, the impunity enjoyed by sex tourists that is
damaging children and exploiting women and destroying the moral fiber of the
country and its image worldwide. We need national and international pressure on
the Philippine authorities to implement the anti-trafficking law and close the
sex industry down.
Sex tourists going to South East Asia and other places develop a depraved
appetite for sex with children and then return to their own countries and become
abusers of their children in their own country. Officials are ignoring the
problem. Sexual exploitation is spreading among the Filipino communities and the
legal and moral prohibitions have broken down. Even local officials today act as
negotiators between child abusers and parents to arrange a financial settlement
when the child has been raped or abused. The official earns a percentage of the
payment. The child is left without help and the pedophile goes free to abuse
Our Preda Home for Girls has 49 children in care and custody. They are helped
to recover by providing a caring and supportive environment with protection. We
also help them heal by encouraging them to cry out through emotional expression
therapy. The deeply buried emotional pain and suffering they hide inside is
opened and brought out. The emotional pain is eased and the anger is removed and
psychological healing can begin.
Many children have recovered and are reintegrated to their families when it
is safe for them. Some have succeeded in past years and finished college and
today are Preda social workers and psychologists helping the new child victims
at Preda children's home.
The Preda legal officers are filing criminal charges against the abusers but
due to weak prosecution, few cases prosper and succeed. There are few
convictions and abusers are still at large and a danger to the children.
Maryann was abandoned in the streets by her family and she was trafficked
into the sex club at the age of 15. She was exploited and sold to foreigners who
sexually abused her. But she was rescued and recovered at the Preda Home and
became a high-honored student and I am happy to tell you that she is in college
and is now a children's rights advocate and has just returned from a speaking
engagement at an international conference on children’s rights in Canada
sponsored by Unicef.
Evelyn was abused as a child before she runaway from home to escape the abuse
and was trafficked abroad into prostitution in Hong Kong. She was used in making
pornography and suffered violence and sexual abuse. This month, she was rescued
by a colleague of Preda and was flown back to the Philippines and is slowly
recovering at Preda. Thousands of young girls are trafficked like this every
day. We can all do much to change this situation.
May all people of good will, defenders of children, protectors of human
rights, all of us, never turn a blind eye to the suffering and exploitation and
injustice done to children, may we always have the courage to take a stand and
speak out and defend the helpless and most vulnerable.
May we all work for justice and make this a better world for all and
especially for children, that they be recognized as God¹s children worthy of
love and care. Let us end the abuse and jailing of children and the trafficking
and slavery of children into the sex industry. END