TACLOBAN CITY-The women’s right group Gabriela launched an international solidarity mission in areas ravaged by super typhoon Yolanda to look into reports of human trafficking and prostitution involving victims of the typhoon. This was revealed by Joms Salvador, secretary general of Gabriela who added that the mission’s participants is composed of almost 3,000 women coming from different countries like the Philippines, Canada, Belgium, Vietnam and the United States of America. Stage actress Monique Wilson of “Miss Saigon” is among the members of the mission. Based on their data, almost 80 percent of reported victims of Yolanda were women and children, considered both vulnerable to abuses and violations of their rights. Salvador disclosed that many women Yolanda survivors ended up as victims of trafficking and prostitution.

Lack of assistance during this time of calamity was one of the reasons cited by Salvador why women and even children who survived Yolanda ended as victims of trafficking or prostitution. If the government will not provide the necessary and appropriate help to the survivors, the number of trafficked women or those ended up in prostitution will continue to increase, Salvador added. She claimed that they have monitored cases of trafficking and prostitution involving Yolanda survivors outside Eastern Visayas. After gathering data obtained from their mission, Salvador said that they will create a global action plan as part of the international women solidarity mission. The plan will be presented to various organizations and concerned local government units for them to take the appropriate actions and help stop occurrence of trafficking and prostitution among Yolanda survivors. In order to address the problem on trafficking and prostitution, the government has to provide opportunities for employment to women, Salvador said. (RYAN GABRIEL LLOSA ARCENAS)