Anti-trafficking advocates give voice to trafficked women, release book

TO raise awareness on the plight of human trafficking victims in Cebu, a book of their stories was released yesterday.

The book, “I Have A Voice: Trafficking of Women in Their Own Words,” contained stories of 40 women who were victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation in Cebu.

Angela Reed, an Australian nun of the Religious Sisters of Mercy (RSM), and Marietta Latonio, a registered social worker, came up with the book after seven years of collaboration.

Reed told reporters that before she and Latonio decided to write the book, it started as a research concept on the plight of trafficked women in Cebu.

“It was the women who requested us to make it into a book so that the world would know their stories,” Reed said.

She said that the book aims to put a spotlight on human trafficking, which is becoming rampant in Cebu.

All the rescued women interviewed for the book are now sheltered in halfway houses in different parts of Cebu.

“We have a lot to learn from these women. Their experiences, their pain and hardships should serve to guide us on how we could protect them,” Latonio said.

Latonio said that she and Reed had a hard time making the book because the stories of the women were so heartbreaking that it was difficult just reading them.

One of the reactors, Tessie Fernandez, executive director of the Lihok Filipina Foundation, said that while there are laws that protect women and children from becoming victims of trafficking, the campaign against human trafficking and sexual exploitation must start within families.

Fernandez said that problems often start at home, especially if parents refused to look after their children.

The book is available in limited copies and is sold at P199.

Proceeds of the books will go to the Good Shepherd Welcome House in Barangay Parian, which is owned and operated by the Good Shepherd Sisters.

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