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CBN Asia, in partnership with the KALAYAG Child Care and Youth Community Center Inc., and the Simbahang Kristianong Lumad Inc., presents its first Matigsalug film, OLIGASE, as an effort to shine light on these important and long-pressing issues plaguing indigenous Filipinos in Mindanao: Education, Women’s Rights, and Social Justice.
Crimes Against Humanity
Last February 5, 2020, a 22-year-old Filipina was sentenced to 17 years and 4 months in prison for 4 counts of online sex trafficking. This sentence was handed out finally after her arrest on August 2017, through a successful rescue operation of a 14-year-old girl.
Online sex trafficking is on the rise in the Philippines, although Human Trafficking and the prostitution of children has long been a significant issue in the country. In 2009, the Philippines was ranked under Tier 2 Watch List in the Trafficking in Persons Report of the United States (US) State Department. In a 2006 article reported that based on statistics provided by the Visayan Forum Foundation, most victims were between 12 and 22 years old.
Further, according to the Factsheet published by United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Child Trafficking in the Philippines, The island of Mindanao has become one of the trafficking hotspots because of armed conflict. Children are trafficked to major cities and neighboring countries. Trafficking victims are promised jobs such as domestic helpers or entertainers. Unaware of the dangers ahead, children often have their own aspirations of wanting to see the big cities, helping their siblings and family, acquiring material gains, going to Japan as “entertainers”, and improving their physical appearance.
The factsheet continues that an estimated 60,000 to 100,000 Filipino children in the Philippines are involved in prostitution rings and trafficked into sex trade. This trade is often controlled by organized crime syndicates.
A closer look into this problem within Mindanao, brings us to Davao City.
October 5 has become the Day of No Prostitution Campaign in Davao City. In 2005, the Philippine Information Agency reported documented cases of children as young as 10 years old forced into prostitution in Davao. Davao provinces, along with the Caraga region, have become the favorites of child traffickers posing as tourists. An undated article reported that, based on an October 1997 source, Davao is one of the top five areas for child prostitution and sex tourism. In 1998, the Tambayan Center for Abused Street Girls reported more than 1,000 teenage girls had turned to prostitution in Davao City, charging as little as 50 cents.
This crime does not end with the action, as victims of sexual exploitation experience long-reaching and damaging consequences:
The sexual exploitation of women and girls has dire, lifelong, consequences on their health:
Physical abuse and violence, poor reproductive health and health issues related to substance abuse (drugs are often used as a coping mechanism).
Deaths arising from unsafe, illegal abortions and physical abuse and violence,
A dismal health standard of the individuals in the sex industry could impede them from attaining the highest possible level of physical, mental and social well-being and maximizing their potential.
Lack of Access to Education
The proliferation of child prostitution has a direct negative impact on the education levels of the children in the Philippines.
An estimated 400,000 prostitutes working in the Philippines are underage (of school-going age).
Without proper educational qualifications, even the minority of the children who escape their plight lack the skills to be competitive in the labor market and thus, face grim economic prospects.
The lack of access to education for these women and girls has a profound impact on the quality of life. Without the financial means to receive a proper education, generations after generations would be prevented from achieving social mobility and attaining equal opportunities. This in turn, prevents them from earning higher wages and entrenching them farther into poverty.
The Heart of Our Advocacy
These crimes against humanity have dire effects on Education, Women’s Rights, and Social Justice. As it has continuously impacted the Philippines, its reach has taken a grip more so on marginalized, indigenous, “poorest of the poor” Filipinos.
It is with this knowledge that CBN Asia, in its commitment to proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ to the Philippines, and Simbahang Kristianong Lumad Inc, an indigenous church movement with the goal of empowering indigenous to be a mission force, stand in partnership with the Kalayag Child Care and Youth Community Center, a non-profit, non-government organization helping underprivileged children and tribal youth in rural and urban communities.
The three stand together to answer God’s call to share His Light, and shed light on the dire plight of His “unseen” children. Through the OLIGASE film and its advocacy, CBN Asia, Simbahang Kristianong Lumad Inc., and the Kalayag Child Care and Youth Community Center want to be God’s “Kalayag” in Mindanao.
“Kalayag” is a Matigsalug word that translates to “shining” which denotes providing “light, prosperity, hope and life.” Their aim is to address and care for the physical, emotional (social) and spiritual well-being of children and youth particularly those situated in isolated and impoverished communities both in rural and urban areas – so that they ultimately see the Living Hope and Kalayag found in Jesus Christ.
CBN Asia is committed to proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ to the Philippines, Asia, and the world through our multi-faceted ministries in multimedia, prayer and counseling, humanitarian aid, and cross-cultural missions.
Visit us at http://www.cbnasia.org
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