CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 17 March 2018

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What sits behind the drug mafia?

Maria Rae was just 13-years-old when she began to have conflict with her aunt. She came from a broken home. She was abandoned when her parents split up.

This is the great injustice and hardship suffered by the children of couples who come together without lasting love. They are driven more by impulse, have an unwanted child and then part ways, abandoning the child.

So Rae was left with her aunt, who had children of her own and did not care for or love her. She was a Cinderella child, made to do the household chores, but was not accepted by the family. 

To find friendship, she wandered around the neighbourhood in the town south of Manila. She had dropped out of school when her parents separated and lost the desire to learn, feeling her life was already over and pointless.

Lonely and vulnerable, she was befriended by a man whom she called Dada.

He gave her money and gifts, so she came to think Dada was the only person in the whole world that loved her. However, it was not love, but grooming for abuse. When he raped her, she had nowhere to run, no one to talk to and was afraid to ask for help.

He gave her pills, drugs of some kind. Then he invited his friends to abuse her. She was brought to hotels and sold for sex to the customers that Dada had lined up. They were drug users—paedophiles love to get high on drugs while abusing children.

When her auntie learned that Rae was being prostituted, she demanded a share of the payment. Dada refused and the aunt filed criminal charges for human trafficking against him.

He was the local drug pusher, a racket that runs the sex industry. Drug dens and sexual abuse are fronts for human and drug trafficking in The Philippines. They control the young girls by making them drug dependent.

When government social workers heard about Rae’s plight, they realised she was an emotionally shattered child with no one to trust or cling to.

They referred her to the PREDA Home for Abused and Trafficked Girls.

She was extremely quiet during the first week or so, but soon made friends and came to trust the social workers and therapists.

Her needs were provided; toys, books and dolls; and she was treated with respect and dignity.

This was a totally new experience for her, but it taught her that she had rights and human dignity.

She grew and blossomed over the first months, especially with the help of emotional release therapy. In a padded room, she was free to let out her anger and hurt to release the pain from her heart.

She shouted and screamed day after day and pounded the padded cushions as if pounding her abusers. She began to heal and open up to the therapists and her social worker, and slowly tell her story.

After some months, she became emotionally stronger and more resilient, agreeing to testify in court against her abusers. But after a long build up to the hearing, it was postponed.

The drug mafia is also part of the sex mafia. The sex bar, nightclub owners and pimps control children through drugs, making them docile and submissive. It is a slavery that no young person would enter willingly.

This is a great challenge for the new president, Rodrigo Duterte. He has promised to eliminate drug lords, pushers and the human traffickers, who give drugs to children.

He has already said he will immediately implement a nationwide curfew on young people drinking on the streets and in karaoke bars. In the sex districts, you also see foreigners walking around with young girls some as young as 14.

Duetert’s promise to end corruption in government is the hope of the nation. He said three hours ought to be enough for a government office to release needed documents.

I have waited two months for the vehicle registration office (Land Transportation Office) to release a certificate and there is no hope it will appear soon.

Such delays are incompetence or a delay for pay. Bribery is common and Duterte says he will eliminate it.

If there is a true crackdown on child traffickers and abusers, children like Rae will be safer from the pimps and traffickers and the drug pushers. Criminals that abuse and addict children must be stopped.


           • Father Shay Cullen