TFC News

Canadian group helping sex trafficking victims in PH

Rowena Papasin | TFC News Canada

Posted at Aug 06 2021 05:15 PM

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As the world marked the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons last month, Canada stressed the need to listen more to the voices of victims and survivors. The Ministry of Public Safety also launched a campaign to raise awareness about the signs of human trafficking, including sex trafficking.

Canadian nonprofit groups like the 'Fight4Freedom' are among the organizations that have been at the forefront of the fight against sex trafficking. "We go to strip clubs, massage parlors, the streets; just being able to reach out to those people and telling them that if you want to leave, that if you are in trouble, there's help for you," said the group's Philippines Director, Janelle Tabangcura.

The church-based group expanded its outreach efforts to the Philippines in 2018. Tabangcura said they had been able to talk to about 200 women but the COVID-19 pandemic has halted their efforts. She added many of these women explained that they can't just leave their so-called 'job,' no matter the abuses, because they have debts to pay. "They just keep getting those debts up because they can't pay it or they have to send money back to the province. So that's one of the biggest reasons for how they get into it and how they can't leave."

Tabangcura also shared that one of the biggest forms of sex trafficking in the Philippines is the online sexual exploitation of children. World Hope International, another nonprofit organization, raised fears that the pandemic has caused an alarming increase in such cases in the Philippines. A study by the International Justice Mission showed that poverty pushes some parents to sell sexually explicit photos of their own children online for a small sum. "$50 to $100 which maybe, in Canada or in the US is not that much, but in the Philippines, is a lot," said Tabangcura.

Fight4Freedom will hold a 'Talent4Freedom' contest this August where contestants can submit a video of their talent. Proceeds from the project will be used to fund its outreach program in the Philippines and to start a Fight4Freedom group in the U.S.