Politicians urged to join fight vs child sex tourism in Cebu-A A +A
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
CEBU CITY – Advocates for children’s welfare and protection have formed an organized network that challenges candidates in the 2013 elections to include the crusade against child sex tourism in their platform of government.
Among the members of the network called Cebu Against Sex Tourism (Cast) are the Children’s Legal Bureau (CLB) and the International Justice Mission (IJM).
Lawyers Joan Dymphna Saniel-Amit and Noemi Truya-Abarientos of CLB and Catherine Noveda, Karla Tumulak and Lyndsey Kotchapaw of IJM introduced Cast during the 888 News Forum at Marco Polo Plaza on Tuesday.
Representative Pablo John “PJ” Garcia (3rd district, Cebu) who is running for governor of Cebu, and Representative Benhur Salimbangon (4th district, Cebu) attended the forum.
“Child sex tourism is a reality in Cebu,” read a press statement from the CLB, a member of Cast.
Amit said the sight of a foreigner escorted by very young women and boys, many of them minors, has become a common sight when we go to hotels and resorts, and even in public places such as malls.
Amit said this year alone, an Australian national was apprehended for trafficking six young boys and used these boys for sexual gratification.
Last year, two foreign nationals were also caught using girls for pornography and sex, Amit said.
In the years before that, foreigners were also apprehended for allegedly keeping children as part of their “harem,” in the guise of making these children as scholars or beneficiaries of their benevolence.
“With our children becoming victims of sexual and economic exploitation, which comes in package with promoting Cebu is a tourism hub in the south, we cannot just watch and do nothing about it”, the CLB statement further reads.
Amit said they are not against tourism development because this is an economic activity, but Cebuanos must be vigilant against foreigners who abuse children.
Garcia said he supports the advocacy of CLB and IJM and that the Cebu Provincial Government, under his sister Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, has formed a task force for the purpose.
Garcia said there is also an inter-agency group, which includes the private sector, tasked to report immediately the suspicious activities of foreigners.
Salimbangon said there is no problem in northern Cebu because parents are conservative and they don’t allow their children to go with foreigners. (EOB of Sun.Star Cebu)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 10, 2012.