Who permits the sex industry?

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THE brutal murder of Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude, 26, a transgender person, in a hotel in Olongapo City near Subic Bay Freeport, last Oct. 11, 2014, allegedly by US serviceman Pvt. 1st Class Joseph Scott Pemberton of the US Marine Corps, who has been charged by the police, highlights the ever growing presence of the government-approved and -protected sex tourism in the Philippines.

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While the fate of “Jennifer” is deplored by all who respect the dignity and right to life of all human beings we must not think this is an isolated crime. We must not forget the estimated 100,000 under age children that are abused, trafficked, sold and sexually exploited in the sex clubs, bars, brothels and beach resorts all over the country.

It attracts pedophiles and sex tourists from all over the world, mostly coming from Korea, the USA, Japan, the UK, Australia and EU countries. Many become child abusers and return to the own countries to endanger children there.

The increasing presence in the Philippines of the large number of US servicemen under the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and its most recent expansion under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), which allows US military to occupy and set up a base within the Philippine camps and bases. Not only is this a very questionable circumvention of the constitutional ban on foreign military bases in the Philippines, it is aggravating and adding to the rampant and shameful prostitution and sexual exploitation of trafficked children and young women.

This sordid business is already ravaging our young people and destroying the good name of the Philippines. That government officials issue operating business permits to sex bars is in effect an invitation to customers that encourages human trafficking. The government is in effect offering our young girls, many under age, to sex tourists and military personnel to come and abuse them. This is contrary to Philippine law and the US anti-human trafficking policy and laws, and the programs of the US State Department. The US military also have to enforce restrictions on their troops visiting the Philippines.

Since Philippine government officials allow this business, it is tacitly approving the outcomes: women are made into sex objects, dignity is trampled upon and young people are exploited, abused and murdered. Although I doubt if President Aquino is aware of the extent and negative impact of the sex trade on women and children and on his own and his administration’s international reputation. While human trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation is a worldwide crime in developed and developing nations alike it has to be stamped out and opposed everywhere and especially in predominantly Catholic Philippines.

The Catholic Church ought to be more outspoken and apply it’s moral influence on public opinion and government to oppose the trafficking of persons and the sex trade. It should be actively involved in protecting the family, women and children. Pope Francis has condemned it in all its evil forms. The sex trade morally corrupts men some of whom sexually abuse their own children. Clergy are corrupted too. Bishops and parish priests must take an open stand and speak against such slavery and abuse or their silence might be mistaken as consent.

The bars, clubs and brothels can only operate when public opinion leaves it unchallenged and the mayor of a town gives them a business permit. The mayor and town council only have to ban sex bars and deny such permits to bring much of the dirty business to an end. They refuse to do so in many places and that makes them part of the exploitation of the victims.

We know that is the true situation from the testimony of the many children that we have rescued from these houses of hell on earth. In these places that are called “foreign investment enterprises” young women and children are made to suffer for the sexual gratification of sex tourists from many nationalities.

There is outrage and cries for justice for Jennifer, because it has political connotations yet there has been no such rage and outcry over the murder and rape of Filipino children in their own homes by their own fathers and relatives. The unjust dismissal of charges by compromised prosecutors and, worse, the acquittals by judges of child rapists and sex tourists, even when evidence of guilt is clear and proven, are a disgrace. The Department of Justice and the Supreme Court administrator needs to investigate them.

Government inaction allows human slavery and trafficking of persons to continue. So long as it does we can expect more horrible crimes against sex workers in the future, many of them underage. There must be more employment with dignity for youth and educational support and opportunities for the children of rural poor.

Email shaycullen@preda.org

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8 Comments

  1. The “oldest profession” was not created by the Philippines. Our savior had Mary Magdalin, a good friend. It is a natural profession since sex is what is the driving force in our lives. It is an industry that needs regulation. The sex workers need protection so they are not exploited. It is just like the government, get the crime organizations and corruption out of it and everything will work good.

  2. There is nothing wrong with adults working in the sex industry if they so chose to. Its their right. It might be morally wrong but morals & filipinos dont mix very well. Take their national sport of cock fighting. Its morally wrong but most filipinos love it. Its disgusting & barbaric & yet the church accepts it as people want it.
    Now if children are put into the sex industry its again filipinos doing it. If a fioreigner goes to a sex bar & a child is there thats not his fault & the child shouldnt be there so why not have someone overseeing who works there.
    Now laude who was killed by the american, what a person of virtue she or he was. She or he had a german fiance & didnt work but lived off hs money in the allowance he sent her /him. So why was she /he out there looking for sex with servicemen, its very simple morals, she/he has none. Just a dirty whore. Yes she/he was murdered & probably after the guy found out he had had sex with a male & being drunk got very upset & went overboard on attacking him/her. She /he holds a lot of responsibility for her/his demise. & im sorry but i hole no sympathy for him/her.

  3. Yes; the govt has failed, and so has its partner, the Church, esp. the Catholic Church which commands the majority of beloievers in the PH. But you ask, Father Shay (by the way, the Bible teaches that we should not call you “father” because there is only one “Father”), “who permits this “vile trade” of sex? The economic, and the social and political systems that support it, permits anything, like organizing and building a church is the same as building a bar and organizing the Jennifers and the clients to go there. It is a “free enterprise” thing. It also supports “democracy”. In fact, the Americans came, and killed Jenny, because they are the defenders, not of the PH, but of “global democracy” and its economic institutions – the multi-national corporate world. Democracy is also the defender of the Church religions. So, whopermitted it? You and I.

  4. What you say is very, very true. But it falls short of the full truth. It is not just the government and the local leaders who support this vile trade – it is all the Filipino people who consent by their inaction. As a foreigner, I have been offered young girls for sex by their own mothers. (I did not accept!)

    The Filipino people appear to have no moral compass by which to guide their lives and their society. In this, the Catholic Church has totally failed the people. It is time to turn to the Bible, the word of God, and let it shape the hearts and minds, the culture and the morals, of the Filipino people.

    That is your only hope.

    • benji Goldhawk on

      I am a person who resides in Canada, and i do see the problem. Lack of morals, Lack of Jesus Christ in people’s lives, Liberalism of society, where years ago, homosexuality was a no no, but now, it is accepted as normal. People do not follow the Bible, this is the problem.
      The Bible has only 2 sexes, male and female. It is an artificial construct (man made ideology) which suggests there is in fact a 3 or 4 type of sex. This is totally against Jesus’ teachings in the Bible. Like i said, this is all man made Liberalism where the media is complicit to spread the liberalism to mentally deficient people all over the world: uneducated masses.
      I suggest if most people in the world follow Jesus, and become readers of the Bible, he or she would condemn the bawdy houses, and the people would stop selling their bodies for sex (and of course money). Morals will change, and the business will stop.

      Remember, those who sincerely follow Jesus and accept him will be saved. Those who do not, will be dropped into the Sea of Fire for Eternity. Your choice!
      People must have Holy Spirt inside of them to know what is right and what is indeed wrong. That is the key to all of this.
      We need and require strong Christian leadership throughout the world to set Jesus’ teachings to all.
      Thank you for reading.

      B Goldhawk

  5. You Father need to read what you say before publishing it. The core problem is not the American military trying to protect a country that clearly can not do it on their own. The problem lies in the corrupt Government and Corrupt Catholic Church, Both the Government and the Church have done nothing to help these poor people. The only reason these place’s exist to the extent they do in the Philippines is those young people feel they have no other choice. Shame on you for blaming everyone but the ones that run the country. Its time also for the Church to look at it self.

  6. Thank you very much for this concise and powerful article, Fr. Shay Cullen. Can you please translate this piece in different dialects to reach the far-flung areas? Or is it possible for you to request somebody to translate it and be disseminated to most of the Filipinos all over the Philippines? I think only a few can avail/afford to buy this broadsheet.