Press Release
February 10, 2006


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Nene Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today bewailed that the trafficking of women remains largely unchecked despite the enactment and enforcement of laws and international agreements that have strengthened the hands of governments in combatting this social menace.

Pimentel challenged political leaders and law enforcement authorities to strictly implement the two and a half-year old law proscribing the trafficking of women and children, as well as related international agreements of which the Philippines is a signatory.

Laws and international agreements are only effective if countries get down from the rarefied air of legal norms to address the problem and get into the tough battle for the equality of sexes which is in the realm of the economic and social lives of peoples, Pimentel told the International Conference on Migration and Trafficking of Persons at the Bayview Park Hotel in Manila.

To get this objective done successfully, he stressed the need to get the cooperation of governments of the less affluent parts of the world, where the supply of trafficked women comes from, to legally interdict it.

He said there is also a need to get the more affluent world, where the demand for trafficked women is greatest, to help the less affluent nations to eradicate the basic cause of trafficking of women poverty.

Saying the problem has acquired global proportions, the lone senator from Mindanao said trafficking of women exists in some countries in Africa, Asia and Europe were the squalor of poverty drives the affected women abetted by their families in many instances to seek life elsewhere even at the risk of abuse.

The problem, of course, is aggravated by the fact that there appears to be a growing demand for women who could be used as chattels, molested as sex-toys, and maltreated as slaves in the more affluent parts of the world, he said.

Pimentel cited common instances of women coming from the poor Asian nations, including the Philippines, who are battered and victimized mostly sexually by bad elements in countries like Japan and South Korea or ill-treated as slaves in some Middle Eastern states. He mentioned a recent report that in the United States alone, some 45,000 to 50,000 women a year are trafficked by criminal syndicates.

He emphasized that it will take the collective genius of the well-meaning peoples of the world to combat this menace that threatens the moral fabric of all societies of the world.

It is important for the peoples of the world to realize that unless we address the problem of the moral degradation of our societies in general and of women in particular, there wont be much that our respective societies can do about that other serious problems of the world, women trafficking, included, Pimentel said.

Pimentel said the warning that former US President Jimmy Carter aired in his recent book, Our Endangered Values (Americas Moral Crisis), may well apply to the rest of the world.

Without upholding moral values, no country no matter how powerful economically or militarily can last for long.

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