New York play highlights trafficking of Pinay workers

By Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

Posted at Jan 03 2013 10:41 AM | Updated as of Jan 03 2013 06:43 PM

NEW YORK, New York - A reading of a new stage play about the real life stories and the struggles of the Filipino migrant worker was held in Manhattan, New York.

One of the lines go, “There is no turning back, you may experience the loss of power many new migrants face abroad since (the Philippine government) didn’t brief you on issues like racism, discrimination, culture shock, the possibility of your passport being withheld from you.”

Jennine Ventura, chair of Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment said, “Seventy percent of overseas Filipino workers are women. They take these 3-D jobs — they’re Difficult, they’re Dirty, they’re Dangerous.”

Diwang Pinay 2013 is based on the stories of trafficked Filipino women who left their families in the Philippines to seek a better life in the US only to become victims of labor trafficking.

The women of Florida 15, a group of Filipinos who are alleged human trafficking victims of a Filipino-owned job placement agency in Florida say, Diwang Pinay not only mirrors their struggles, it gives them the strength to carry on with their fight for justice.

One of the victims, Annabelle Sibayan said, “Sila yung nakakapagbigay ng lakas ng loob sa amin, dahil sa umpisa siyempre alam mo naman nagtatago kami, dahil alam namin na takot kami eh, so hindi namin alam yung mga karapatan namin, ‘yun yung pangalawa, sila yung nagmumulat sa amin kung paano ba dapat ipaglaban yung karapatan namin bilang manggagawa.”

By staging the play, organizers are hoping that Diwang Pinay will not only shed some light on the horrors of labor trafficking of Filipino women but will somehow help stop trafficking the Filipino people.

Organizers are encouraging viewers to hold the Philippine government accountable as well as the country receiving exported Filipino workers.

Ventura said, “If you’re sending people abroad, you have to hold those agencies accountable, where’s the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency? Where are any of those agencies in terms of protecting our kababayans when they do go abroad?”

“Kailangan nating maging mapag-matyag, maingat, at alamin natin kung ano yung karapatan natin at huwag tayong matakot,” said Sibayan.

The performance will include educational discussions and a reflection on the current state of migration and labor trafficking from the Philippines to the US.

Diwang Pinay opens in the spring of 2013.