Hypocrisy City

An Australian bar owner in Angeles City, Terence Smith, is facing life in prison for ‘Human Trafficking’, the latest UN approved buzz word for pimping. Despite no doubt running the bar for many years, he has only now been arrested and the bar closed. Following this and some other show case raids against foreigners, the US took the Philippines off its list of countries not doing enough to fight human trafficking… and of course reinstated millions of dollars of funds.

Angeles City has dozens of bars where patrons can pay a ‘bar fine’, euphemistically called an ‘early work release’ so the GRO or Guest Relations Officer (hostess) may leave work early and go on a date with the patron. Sex is not guaranteed as afterall, this is a proud catholic country where prostitution is illegal. So why out of all the bars there did they swoop on Smith’s? Obviously he failed to pay the corrupt police enough money. These are the same police that framed the late John Martin on ridiculous drug trafficking charges a decade ago.

So what about the other bars? What about the thousands of bars owned by prominent Filipinos catering purely to Filipino clientele? What about the parents selling off their children to pedophiles and middle men? What about the evil Arab employers in teh Middle East that rape and beat Filipina house maids? Well, they are not as easy a target as a foreigner running a bar, employing dozens of locals and putting money back into the economy.

Calling prostitution ‘human trafficking’ is only accurate if the prostitutes are unwilling participants, surely? While technically yes, they are being trafficked in one respect, the sad reality is too many have few other options for employment. While the catholic church continues its medieval enforcement of no contraception laws the population continues to explode well beyond the country’s capacity to sustain the growth. The rich don’t care as they send their kids overseas and continue to make money from the poor. Many prostitutes actually enjoy the attention and the income and the lifestyle, seeing it as a sure fire way to meet a foreigner who they can marry and use to leave this all behind, then help their family from abroad. If nothing else it is not a one size fits all situation with the solution lock up the bar owners.

One can not moralize against the bar owners and the patrons without also moralizing against the girls who choose to seek work in this industry. Unlike horror stories of prostitutes in Europe being trafficked from Eastern Europe, drugged and treated abominally by pimps, the bar girls are much better taken care of, at least in the foreigner owned bars. The cases of rape by clients, bar owners and the police are out there but rarely investigated as it would require taking action against prominent Filipinos, many with political connections and all with money. And in this, as in any country, money certainly talks.

Make no mistake, the authorities have supported these bars for many years with officials patronising them and enjoying the free services offered, as well as cash payments. To say otherwise is to be naive and deny what is widely known. Smith is a scape goat, one of many foreigner scape goats sacrificed on the altar of US Aid, tied to paying lip service to whatever the latest UN buzz word is this month.


Short Time Behind Bars

While there are still victims of the corruption and incompetence rife in Filipino society languishing behind bars while case after case is thrown out of court, local prisoners seem to be able to enjoy a wide range of privileges, including prostitutes and ‘sleep outs’! A report in the local press exposes the corruption and serious problems at many prisons with prostitutes being brought in to work for their pimps after dark, inside the jail.

While not unheard of in western prisons, there are many cases of female correctional officers selling themselves to well off prisoners and even becoming pregnant. They lose their job and in some cases their family, all for the want of either a condom or some restraint. But don’t blame the women officers. If they were paid a fair wage perhaps they would not resort to this base trade.

Then we have the ‘VIP’ prisoners such as former Batangas Governor, now convicted murderer Antonio Leviste, arrested in Makati outside a building he owns there! You would think they would have some kind of ‘proceeds of crime’ legislation and take the building off him, let alone not let him out to carry on his business.

Make no mistake, Secretary De Lima is doing all she can to sort out this cess pit of corruption but it is not an easy task and not one achieved overnight. The good thing is she and the current Acquino administration seem to have the will to do the job. We can only wish them luck and support them in their uphill battle.

For the report see: http://ph.news.yahoo.com/sex-trade-flourishes-philippine-prison-061003931.html

Penpal Or Scam Artist?

It is no secret that a lot of men find happiness and a new life in the arms of a Filipina. Often she is two or more decades younger than he is and this alone causes tongues to wag, heads to turn and so on. If one were totally, brutally honest it would be easy to confess that the attraction is an exchange of youth and sex on the one hand and security and a better life on the other.

Most of the women men will meet via these penpal sites, although by far not all, will not be int he upper socio-economic echelons of Filipino society. It is rare to see a 20 year old girl from a wealthy family walking arm in arm with a man 40 years her senior, yet that is commonplace with Filipinas from the province and much poorer families. Who is anyone to comment or judge on the sincerity of their relationship? Even if he is after sex and someone to take care of him and she is after someone who can take her to a better life abroad and help her care for her family… so what?

Realistically, such a marriage has a better chance of producing happiness than one based purely on some adolescent romantic fantasy ideal. All through history marriages have been made for reasons of wealth, security, land gain, advancement and so on with ‘love’ rarely getting a look in. Who’s to say that genuine affection and love doesn’t blossom over time, let alone that your concept of love is any more valid or honourable than mine or the next person’s.

Of course there are scammers on both sides. There are the desperate, should know better middle aged and older American or European who treats these women’s feelings like a doormat and their bodies like a rag to wipe themselves on when they have had their fun. There are also the professional penpals who know how to milk the men who are genuinely looking for someone in their lives they can love, cherish and provide for.

On the 6th Anniversary of ‘Filipina 101 -How To Meet And Marry The Filipina Of Your Dreams‘ I am looking at the state of the Fil-Am penpal scene in 2011 with a view to updating the text for 2012. The first step in that review is to look at some of the penpals, both male and female, working the web today. So far it has been an eye opener, even for jaded old me.  Click on the link and come and read the report and keep checking back as new information comes to hand. You might even learn how to detect a scammer, or whether she is really a he!