‘Supply chain’ of abuse: Senate probe on trafficking of Filipino women sought
MANILA, Philippines — A Senate scrutiny on the trafficking of Filipino women has been called for, following a recent report that 12 Filipinas were peddled to Syria after they were promised jobs in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Senator Risa Hontiveros pushed for the inquiry through Senate Resolution No. 631, which also sought to investigate the gendered dimensions of human trafficking in the Philippines, where an overwhelming majority of victims are women and girls.
“Alin ang mga sindikatong sangkot sa kalakalaran ng human trafficking? Nung iniimbestigahan natin ang ‘pastillas scam’ sa Bureau of Immigration, napagalaman natin na maliban sa pagpapasok ng Chinese nationals na walang inspeksyon, raket din sa BI ang outbound trafficking ng mga Pilipino,” Hontiveros, chair of the Senate women committee, said in a statement Tuesday.
(Which syndicate is involved in human trafficking? When we investigated the ‘pastillas’ scam within the Bureau of Immigration, we learned that aside from the entry of Chinese nationals without inspection, outbound trafficking is also one of the rackets.)
“May mga institusyon din ba sa Pilipinas na pasimuno o nagproprotekta sa raket na ito? Are the masterminds of the pastillas scam the same people behind this massive business of human trafficking?” she added.
(Is there an institution here in the Philippines who is responsible or is protecting this type of racket. Are the masterminds of the pastillas scam the same people behind this massive business of human trafficking?)
Earlier, The Washington Post reported about Filipino women who were promised work in the UAE but were instead trafficked to Syria, where their employers would physically and sexually abuse them.
While the Department of Foreign Affairs has already committed to repatriating the remaining trafficked Filipino women in Syria, Hontiveros said it is imperative to conduct an investigation in aid of legislation to better understand what she calls a “supply chain” of abuse.
“We need to better understand the human trafficking ‘supply chain’ in order to craft more effective legislation to prosecute offenders and protect our women and children,” she said.
In her resolution, Hontiveros noted that the 12 Filipino women in the report were recruited in the Philippines and told that they would be working in Dubai but were “locked up inside a dark and dirty dormitory and were made to sleep on the floor” upon their arrival.
“These women were physically abused and threatened the moment they expressed objection to being taken to Syria,” the lawmaker said.
“Isa lang ito sa mga kwento ng napakaraming Pilipina na matagal nang nagiging biktima ng trafficking sa ibang bansa. Ngunit sa gitna ng pandemya, mas lalala ang sitwasyon nila,” she added.
(This is only one of the many stories of Filipinas who have long been victims of trafficking in other countries. But in the middle of a pandemic, their situation will get worse.)
Further, Hontiveros said her resolution also seeks to closely examine the gendered dimensions of human trafficking in the country, where women and girls consist the majority of victims “because of their vulnerability, economic disadvantage, and the increased global demand for sexual services and domestic servitude.”
“Dahil na rin sa kakulangan ng oportunidad sa Pilipinas, nagiging mas bulnerable ang ating kababaihan sa trafficking. The pandemic will only drive many families further into poverty, making many members, especially women, more at risk of exploitation and abuse,” she said.
(Because of the lack of opportunity in the Philippines, Filipino women are more vulnerable to trafficking. The pandemic will only drive many families further into poverty, making many members, especially women, more at risk of exploitation and abuse.)
“Ang sakit sa puso na sa gitna ng isang matinding krisis sa buong mundo, ang mga kababayan natin ay patuloy na inaabuso. The issue of human trafficking of our women is not new, and putting an end to this practice is long overdue,” she added.
(It hurts that amid a global crisis, these women continue to suffer from abuse. The issue of human trafficking of our women is not new, and putting an end to this practice is long overdue.)
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