Fr Shay Cullen writes: modern slavery still thrives where the good don't act

 It's because good people fail to act on their convictions and speak out when they know they ought to that the evil continues and spreads. We can all express our concern and write and phone politicians to pressure them to act with the power of law and the state to protect children. Here, I continue to share my keynote speech to the conference in Hull on 23 February. The criminals who escape from Britain or other Western countries and travel abroad as sex tourists or sex investors in brothels and bars in developing countries are the traffickers and slavers today. They establish and set up the system of exploitation. They are not sufficiently pursued abroad by European law enforcement officers nor is there political will to investigate the criminals and bring them to justice in their country of origin. "Better let them abuse there than here; this deplorable attitude would seem to say. One child, the case of 15 year old Angelita, is not unusual. She was hired by a recruiter in Negros Island in the Philippines. Her parents were given an advance payment from her promised future wages. She was brought from Negros Island to Manila as a domestic worker to be a house maid for a wealthy businessman but was raped by his son, Angelita ran away, was offered food and shelter by a pimp on the prowl and then she was sold into the Sweet 16 sex club in Subic Town, near Olongapo City. There she was made undress, wear a bikini and was trained as a bar dancer and made believe that this was her salvation and future. Angelita was told she was now a member of the sex bar family. She was made to believe that she was taken care of by her Mamasan, a former prostituted woman and that she was protected by Big Daddy, the foreign brothel investor and operator. The other girl dancers were to be treated as her sisters and she was to be loyal to the family and earn money for it. This is an insidious abuse of the traditional family closeness and interdependency that is part of the Filipino culture. Soon Angelita was sexually abused by the brothel's operator and she was then prostituted and sold to sailors and sex tourists who paid the brothel's operator. Angelita was continually in debt and only earned a pittance. Most of her earnings were deducted to pay her board and lodging, laundry and other needs. Angelita was warned not to leave until all her debts were paid or she would be arrested and jailed. Thousands of underage girls, some as young as 13 are exploited and enslaved in this way every year in the Philippines and hundreds of thousands in South East Asia. In India it is as high as 1.2 million. After Angelita was rescued she resented it and was angry and refused to co-operate and attempted to escape from the Preda children's home and go back to the brothel. It took months to help her realize how she was being exploited and had rights and dignity and a better future is ahead of her. The cry and emotional expression therapy in the Preda children's home helps the healing and recovery. Education, affirmation and support restore self-esteem and empower the children. Today Angelita has fully recovered and has embraced a Christian way of life and is an outspoken advocate of children's rights. Nowadays, our faith in the intrinsic value and goodness of every human being must flow into action and action will strengthen that faith. Unless we do the forces of evil that masquerade as good will be condoned and accepted. The corrupting industries of modern slavery already present themselves as beneficial investors in the economy, harmless entertainment, benign, legitimate fun and entertainment. In many countries in South East Asia, local governments give licenses and permits to these establishments where women and children are being abused, exploited and put up for sale. This is why sex -slavery is expanding unchecked and so too the erosion of moral religious values. The erosion of moral values set the scene for the sexual abuse and enslavement of children by adults and even parents or live-in partners. We have successfully rescued many children who had been sexually abused and exploited in their own homes by live-partners or by their own parent. For modern slavery to succeed and be accepted, the impoverished youth need to be presented by the pimps, slavers and exploiters as degenerate, drug dependents, useless and promiscuous. Their enslavement in prostitution is made all the more acceptable when the public are made to think of them as useless members of society. This has to be opposed and the youth must get help and support and their dignity and rights upheld. For more informatrion see:

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