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“Philippines Must Help Abused and Trafficked Children” – Lord Hylton

January 27, 2015 · 

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The outspoken and champion of human rights, Lord Raymond Hylton has written to the Philippine Government
on the Pope’s visit and calls on the Government to address the problems of abused and jailed children sold into prostitution.
HE Mr Enrique Manalo
Embassy of the Philippines
6-8 Suffolk Street
London
SW1Y 4HG26th January 2015
Tsunami Reconstruction – Poverty and ChildrenI am moved to write by Pope Francis’s recent visit to your country.  This was reported in a 2-page spread in the Tablet for 24th January.I am glad that the Pope visited Tacloban on Leyte Island, which suffered the worst typhoon destruction.   It seems that money given for rebuilding is still sitting in a bank account.  That can hardly be right.  I would be so pleased to hear what has caused the delay and whether it is being put right?  Could it be that corrupt profiteers got their hands on some of the first payments?  When international funds are given after a natural disaster, the need for accountability is all the greater.

I think it is generally accepted that in your population of some 100 million, a relatively high proportion is suffering from poverty, perhaps as much as one quarter.  Because of the lack of jobs at home, even for quite skilled people, such as nurses and technicians, many are forced to emigrate and the economy has become heavily dependent on their remittances.  Migrants go to Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, the Gulf, and as far as US or UK, if they can get higher wages.  Because of distance, cost of travel, terms of contracts etc, visits by workers to their families are relatively rare. The effect on family life is harmful.  The generations become separated and children may hardly know their parents.

I would be grateful to hear what measures your Government is using to increase the amount of employment available at home?  I would imagine that reconstruction after the typhoon, and other public works in the remoter areas, would give scope for training and providing skills for poor people, thus making them more employable.

trafficked and abusedIt is, I think, generally accepted in the developing world, that enabling people with uncertain ownership to have their valid titles to their land or houses is a good way to improve local economies.  The reason is that the new owners immediately become credit-worthy and can borrow to develop their tiny, small or medium-sized businesses.  Other well-tested methods, which can be combined with land registration and reform, are trades unions, credit unions and cooperatives (whether for producers or consumers).  Would you please say to what extent all the above measures have a place in your Government’s plans for economic development.

I should mention two other very harmful consequences of the present level of poverty. These are the presence of street children, many of them orphans or rejected and separated children. For example, Manila is estimated to have 25,000 children, living mainly on the street.  Seventeen detention centres are in use, since all too often street children fall into petty crime.
I am therefore glad that the Pope visited a home for street children (The Blessed Charles de Foucauld Home).  It was good that a 12-year old girl, Glyzelle Palomar, was able to tell the Pope how much she had suffered in her short life.  I therefore hope that the whole policy of the state will be directed to rehabilitating poor children under the age of 18, rather than to punishing them.  In this they should be greatly helped by the Church, voluntary organizations and a just level of taxation paid by the class of very rich people.The second sad consequence of poverty, is that young people, mostly girls, are pushed into prostitution and sex bars.  This happens not only in Manila, but also in tourist resorts elsewhere.  It is made worse by sex tourists, who include paedophiles.  It is aggravated by trafficking, whereby young people are lured out of your country by deceptive offers of jobs in hotels etc in Thailand, Hon Kong, Japan etc.  I would be grateful to hear more about what your Government is doing to prevent such shameful exploitation of ignorance and innocence.
May I conclude by hoping you do not feel that I write too often. The needs are very great and I can assure you that I am also raising with the British Government issues to do with poverty, welfare, sanctions and homelessness.Yours sincerelyHylton
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