Musings with Trisha-A A +A
Tropical Storm Igme
Monday, October 22, 2012
SHE stood there one night, in the corner of the street which was named before a national hero who was praised to have spurred our nation’s liberation from the Spaniards more than a century ago. She bathed in her silhouette caused by the lamp posts, but her dark eyes gleamed as she watched her friend being fetched by a motorcycle-riding man.
Then she noticed me walking, apparently about to go home, yet she slowly approached me with the usual sales pitch if I was looking for a “pass time.” I know what she meant, and it seems the night was still young and maybe she was right, I may need some “pass time.” And so we were there for a while standing, and had a chat.
Her name was Trisha (not her real name of course), but she prefers money than establishing a serious conversation. She was hesitant at first, but it takes a little effort to convince her sharing some strands of information about her life. And for what “sane” reasons I had in my mind then to have some time with her, I really don’t know, or maybe blame her timid voice.
Constantly she was suggesting if our little chat could be elevated to something productive, convincing me to “use” her and at the same time I could help her feed her two children. She said she’s already in her thirties, but judging from her body and appearance, it could be just in her early twenties, but who knows, my eyes could have been deceived by the dim lights and the light make-up she was wearing.
Trisha’s story is as typical as those who I already had interviews with since college about women in the flesh trade, but nevertheless, their voices remain unheard or otherwise a favorite subject for more readership and TV ratings in the news features, if not, a subtle entertainment value in journalism to “arouse” the consciousness of the public.
Prostitution has been a favorite taboo elsewhere in the world even before the time of Jesus, but factors that led Trisha into this “industry” may not be the same during Mary Magdalene’s time. It is a taboo that we love and we hate about.
Sex is inevitable in every society and to some extent; some considered it as a social obligation, until religions of different faith deemed it immoral for a woman and a man copulate out of the bond of marriage.
Even in our own laws and local ordinances, prostitution is supposed to be illegal but because of the “industry’s” demands are so high, it remains an “accepted social template” that even some lawmakers and some government officials succumbed to its pleasure. “Lami gyud daw ang bawal.”
And now, the United Nations (UN) in its “Sex Work and the Law in Asia and the Pacific” report is suggesting Philippines and other Asian countries to “decriminalize sex-related jobs in order to provide sex workers access to basic rights and to control the spread of sexually transmitted infections especially HIV.”
It continues of saying that “the legal recognition of sex work as an occupation enables sex workers to claim benefits, to form or join unions and to access work-related banking, insurance, transport and pension schemes.”
Maybe Trisha’s future will be good, if this will happen. Imagine her giving proper education to her children, thanks to the benefits she get from insurance agencies and health facilities. Imagine her with Social Security, Pag-Ibig and Philhealth benefits, just like everyone else. Isn’t it about time for the men and women like Trisha, be given an opportunity to be part of the society and give them the rights they deserved?
The UN report will surely give various feedback from the public, it will arise again endless debates similar to the Reproductive Health Bill, divorce and same-sex marriage that has been loitering around the doors of the House of Representatives.
It may sound positive to some, but what can be another form of concern should prostitution be legalized. It is the people’s mental and social maturity towards it, especially on the notion that some people can still treat prostitutes as objects and commodities, not as real persons who have lives, and most especially, dignity and self-respect.
But by the end of the day, it’s still for Trisha to decide whether she will continue her means of living or not. Trisha and all other prostitutes were victims of sad circumstances, and as she left our little conversation with no interest on any men who can’t provide her money to live for a day, she was nevertheless aware of what she’s doing yet she was left with no choice.
(Nef Luczon is a freelance journalist and a part-time communications instructor. He is also a film and art enthusiast. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org)
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on October 22, 2012.