DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The non-governmental women’s research group Center for Women’s Resources (CWR) noted poverty as key reason why the latest survey conducted by the Thomas Reuters Foundation found the Philippines to be one of the top ten most dangerous nations in the world in terms of human trafficking.
Together with the Philippines other developing and war-torn countries such as India, Libya, Myanmar, Nigeria, Russia, Afghanistan, Thailand, Nepal, Bangladesh,and Pakistan were also on the top list.
According to the CWR, the perennial deprivation of economic opportunities to Filipino women makes them vulnerable to human traffickers.
“Women’s participation in the labor force is constantly low where only 46.2% of them tallied in 2017, a drop of 3.1% from the previous year. While both men and women have registered a lower number of participation in 2017 compared to 2016, the count of women’s participation is still 30% lower than men’s participation. Generally, unemployed men and women increased by 78,000 in 2017,” said the CWR.
Because of lack of job opportunities and aggravated by the increase of daily needs, some families start cutting the number of times they eat in a day, from three intakes to two or even one intake per day. As prices continue to rise, women and their families toil to live.
The CWR has also documented a few ways on how families tried to cope with crisis brought by increasing food prices.
The following are:
•Memorize or imagine – using one’s imagination of nutritious and delicious food while eating high-calorie, low nutritional value food
• “Peking duck” – eating left-over food from restaurants
• Altanghap – single daily meal, usually between 2:00 to 4:00 (almusal-tanghalian-hapunan)
• Piso-piso – rice with one-peso munchable junk food (chichiria)
In this situation many women fall victims to illegal recruiters and traffickers. Most cases of trafficking were reported from far-flung provinces where poverty is widespread.
CWR said: “Traffickers take advantage of women’s desperation to escape from extreme poverty. With the desire for a better life for themselves and their families, poor women are lured by traffickers to work in the cities. Unknowingly, when they are already in the cities, women are forced into prostitution.”
The group also slammed Pres. Rodrigo Duterte for his anti-women stance that aggravate women’s condition.
“The misogynistic attitude prevailing in the current Philippine society today – peddled by President Duterte himself – makes it harder to uplift women’s condition. Misogyny or the contempt for or ingrained prejudice against women reinforces inequality not simply between men and women but more on between the powerful and the powerless. It works to keep women conform to standards and to make them feel inadequate. The troubling part is the tolerance of its practice by society that makes violence against women (VAW) built into the system,” Executive Director Jojo Guan explained.
“As the culture of gender-based violence continues, women remain to be treated as source of cheap labor, as sex commodities, or as mere properties. To make a real difference to women’s lives, concerned citizens must take a stand against misogyny and violence against women. People – both men and women – need to organize to dismantle the system that perpetuates such views,” Guan concluded. (davaotoday.com)