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Philippine News Digest 44

November 30, 2002 · 

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Contents:

  • Asia marks World Aids Day amid warnings of epidemic
  • Six minors rescued from prostitution
  • Raising awareness about sex tourism in Mexico

Asia marks World Aids Day amid warnings of epidemic

Countries across Asia commemorated World Aids Day with events to raise awareness of the disease amid warnings that the number of people with HIV/AIDS in China and India will reach epidemic levels. Outside of the sub-Saharan Africa, the AIDS epidemic in Asia threatens to become the largest in the world. The United Nations has estimated that at the end of 2001, 6.6 million people throughout Asia were living with HIV/AIDS, including about 1 million infected that year. The actual number of people with HIV/AIDS may be higher than this figure considering that most of those infected are unaware that they are carrier of the virus unless they undergo medical check-up when severe symptoms have already appeared. In the Philippines, the PREDA Foundation organized a motorcade rally December 1 attended by youth advocates that passed through the streets of the red light district in the Zambales area. Fr. Shay Cullen addressed the event galvanizing the youth into action to disseminate information regarding the disease and to express tolerance and compassion toward people with HIV/AIDS who often suffer discrimination because of their illness. Source: Associated Press and correspondent report in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, 3 December 2002.

Six minors rescued from prostitution

Six young girls, aged 13 to 17, were rescued from a prostitution den November 28 in Angeles City through combined efforts by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the PREDA Foundation. Initial interview with the children reveals that they have been recruited to work in the city from the provinces. The recruiter promised to provide them with decent jobs but ended up dancing in the bars. At present, they are undergoing therapy and rehabilitation in the PREDA Children’s Center. Source: Correspondent report, 2 December 2002.

Raising awareness about sex tourism in Mexico

An estimated 16,000 child prostitutes are found in Mexican tourist destinations and border cities. In response, ECPAT-USA and Arizonans for the Protection of Children asked the US government to post signs along the US-Mexico border informing travelers about US laws against the commercial sexual exploitation. The law makes it a crime, punishable in the United States by up to ten years in prison, for traveling abroad to have sex with a child. The US House of Representative recently passed legislation strengthening the law. Source: ECPAT-USA News, November 2002.

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