International Development: Fighting For Freedom In The Philippines
published on 4 Nov 2019
Gerlyn* is a young woman from Butuan in the Philippines. Having been promised a good job, Gerlyn travelled from her home to Davao, one of the largest cities in the country. However, upon reaching the city Gerlyn was instead sold to a night club owner and forced to have sex with one of the customers.
One day the Task Force on Human Trafficking raided the night club and Gerlyn was one of the people brought to the police station. When the police found out that Gerlyn was a minor, she was immediately referred to The Salvation Army’s drop-in centre for trafficking survivors in Davoa which provides counselling and rehabilitation for those rescued from exploitative situations.
Unfortunately this is not an uncommon story. Every day, young women like Gerlyn are trafficked from all over the Philippines for sexual exploitation and servitude. Around thirty of these are rescued every month by Police Officers and taken to Davao for temporary care by the Philippine government. However, there is often not enough space in the government shelter for everyone to be housed.
This is why The Salvation Army has stepped up to support this need by setting up a respite centre for these trafficking survivors. The women stay at the centre while plans are made for them to return home. At the centre they are provided with psychological support, food, sleeping materials, and clothes. The Salvation Army works closely with the police and government to ensure a smooth process to recovery for those who are referred to the shelter. The Salvation Army then runs a project out of local corps (Salvation Army churches) to ensure the safety of these women once they have returned home and provide them with the follow-up care they need.
As well as this home-based support, Gerlyn has also been awarded a scholarship for trafficking survivors. This means she is now able to attend school where she is currently completing her 3rd year of high school. Gerlyn now also shares her talent and love of dancing with other young people at the corps where they worship God through interpretive dance. The Department of Justice has filed a case against the traffickers in order to see justice delivered for Gerlyn.
Will you take action to help us see freedom proclaimed for the thousands of people like Gerlyn who have been trafficked or are at risk?
*Names have been changed