MANILA, THE PHILIPPINES – After a six-year trial heard by four different judges, one sex trafficking case finally came to a close late last month. A trafficker was convicted, bringing justice to six girls who were rescued in an IJM-assisted operation. It was a hard-won victory for the entire team of IJM staff, government social workers and the public prosecutor who persevered throughout the case. And it was the 100th conviction ever under the Philippines’ anti-trafficking law.
CEBU, THE PHILIPPINES – A group of young women laugh and chat with one another as they pull plastic chairs into a circle. They are excited and at ease with one another. They've been meeting together like this for the past six months – it's a support group for trafficking survivors.
The Reintegration Support Network (RSN) is an innovative partnership between IJM Cebu and the local government, providing medical and psychosocial support to trafficking survivors who have moved out of aftercare shelters and back into their home communities.
MANILA, THE PHILIPPINES – Last week, the Philippine government ordered a major karaoke bar to permanently close its doors. A month earlier, IJM helped rescue 17 young women who had been trafficked there and sold for sex – the youngest was only 14 years old.
CEBU, THE PHILIPPINES – 14-year-old Raina* was hiding in the bathroom, begging the school staff to let her stay. Her mother and step-father were there to pick her up, but she didn't want to go.
She said she was afraid to go home because she didn't want to be sold to men for sex – like her older sister.