Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Monday, May 05, 2008

The sexual enslavement of children

REFLECTIONS - By Fr. Shay Cullen

Josef Fritzl, 73, imprisoned his own daughter and abused her as a sex slave for 24 years and she gave birth in the cellar dungeon to seven children. One died and he incinerated it in a furnace. This is a shocking wakeup call for many Europeans, especially the people of Austria. The fact that he was a sex tourist in Pattaya, Thailand, adds to the horrific revelations. Was it there that he increased his addiction to sex with children, even his own? How many more European sex tourists have developed such addictions in the Philippines, abusing children nonstop with impunity and then repeating it in their home countries? His punishment may be just a few years in jail, so lenient are the Austrian laws.

Why are we gasping in horror at this latest Austrian case of incest and child abuse? Yes, it is particularly horrific, but child abuse and incest are everywhere. Every few days a new case is brought to the Preda children’s home for treatment and protection. We are almost beyond shock, although the latest case beats all so far. The sexually abused child is only two years old. The suspect is a 71-year-old man and his relatives are covering it up.

In Eldorado, Texas, more than 463 children were rescued last month from a remote ranch where they were held by a religious Mormon cult. As many as 31 of the 53 girls aged 14 to 17 are pregnant or have given birth. The youngest pregnant child is 13 years old. One imprisoned teenager “married” to a 50-year-old man said that she was brutally beaten by her “husband.” The younger children, including boys, may have been sexually and physically abused, too.

Hundreds of thousands of abducted and imprisoned children are being held as sex slaves all over the world, as estimates put it. Every society must look into its dark basements and cellars of abuse and face the horrible and unpleasant truth that trafficking of children and child abuse is common in every place and the police ignore it most of the time, or are part of it.

In the Philippines, child sex slaves are sold on the open market. Walk into many of the sex clubs and young underage girls are gyrating in bikinis and offering sex to tourists. So young, their bodies are undeveloped. The trafficking and prostitution of teenagers is generally tolerated. The authorities issue the operating permits and licenses. All efforts to expose and rescue the children are blocked with government noncooperation. Few foreign sex tourists are tried and none are convicted; bribery is common.

When we have rescued kids and filed charges against bar operators or sex tourists, it takes up to three or four years to hear the case because the prosecutors delay proceedings and the accused are free to continue abusing children. Barry Edwards, a British professor, is on trial in Angeles City for three years with no end in sight. Likewise, Australian bar operator Terrence Matthews. The prosecutors just delay action and the child witnesses give up. If she fails to appear, the case is dismissed. Most frequently, the parents are paid off. Other suspects are allowed to flee, after paying off the officials.

Child prostitution and sex slavery, both illegal, are lucrative businesses that the big politicians do not want to end. When foreign sex tourists are done abusing and raping our children, like Josef Fritzl, they go home ravenous for child sex and continue there even with their own daughters. Humans, the species with intelligence, only do it to their own kids. Even frogs don’t do that.

The government has to be held accountable. Last 2007 we discovered two girls, 13 and 14 years old, being trafficked to Iba, Zambales, and turned into child prostitutes in the SkyLine sex bar. The NBI anti-trafficking group waited ten days, failed to respond in time. The sex-bar owner, a police officer, disappeared with the children before the group arrived. Now we know why the trafficking of children and child prostitution thrives with impunity and why we need international awareness and action to stop it everywhere. Manila Times

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