Thursday 22 March 2018

Ten Filipino women trafficked into Northern Ireland recently


Sex is big business in the Philippines, with many Irish and European operators and customers, says Fr Shay Cullen of PREDA.

Ten Filipino women were recently trafficked into Northern Ireland where they worked for free and were sexually attacked at random, revealed the Dublin-born priest.

Whilst still in the Philippines, girls as young as 13 are trapped in sex bars and coerced to sell their bodies to tourists by their 'daddy'. €1,000 will get you a 'cherry' girl and for sex with non-virgins it will set you back €30.

Fr Cullen, the three-time Nobel Peace Prize nominated, has been working with victims for nearly 50 years and explains that girls owe a debt to their captor which they must repay by working in their bars.

The Columban father runs PREDA (People's Recovery, Empowerment and Development Assistance) which rescues minors from these bars and prisons and helps educate and rehabilitate them in residential centres.

Legally in the Philippines a foreigner can only own 40 per cent of a business so partnerships with Filipinos exist so that Europeans can set up sex bars.

As you walk down a strip, girls try to persuade you to enter their bar. On entry you get a drink and when you've decided on your girl from those dancing on the podium, you pay a 'bar fine', which is higher if you want to take her outside.

A coded menu can be found on the wall with items such as 'bucking-bronco', alongside the stage name of one of the workers. In hotels, mid-range and upper-range, western men will take two or three Filipino girls to their room in one go and groups of travelling business men will take a few altogether.

The pioneering priest told the Irish Independent of death threats he has received. He has also been shot at. "Working on an oil rig is dangerous," says the priest when asked if he fears for his life in the Philippines. "We do get threats from the sex mafia and hostile politicians who want to close down PREDA," he admits, but the sex trade is so large and "horrific," he notes that he simply cannot "let them get away with it."

The radical priest was talking to the Irish Independent in the Philippines where he's currently helping out with aid efforts for the millions now homeless because of typhoon Yolanda but he also reflected on home.

The Irish people have "suffered" a lot since the economic crash, he stated. The people are also now "hurting" because of the "so-called taxes and cuts," and the government need to address that.

Something Fr Shay addressed was Eamon Casey who he described as a "great man" who made a "serious mistake." The missionary commended Casey's "great work in London and South America," and called for "compassion" to be shown to him, asking "who are we to judge?"

The priest said that the international sex trade is an issue for the Irish government. His organisation used to receive funding from Irish Aid, he houses over 100 young people a year, but the programme has been cut.

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