During a presentation at the Iowa State University, Father Shay Cullen - a co-founder of PREDA - told a audience of 600 professors, clergy, human rights activists and students that following the undercover work of retired Australian police and agents from U.S. immigration officers, sex tourists are leaving Olongapo and Subic sex tourist areas in the Philippines. "The wave of human slavery is increasing in the world and the young women and children are the most vulnerable victims. It is not only in poor countries but in developed nations also." Fr.Shay told the audience. PREDA is a nonprofit organization based in the Philippines that is dedicated to ending the exploitation of children.
Marlyn Capio-Richter - social worker for PREDA and Paralegal - told her life story as a child sexually abused by step-father, ran away and was lured by a human trafficker to Boracay island where she was forced into sexual slavery when she was only 12 years old. Later with an other child she was rescued and brought to PREDA by Rev. Cullen. Ultimately, she graduated college and is now helping fellow victims of human trafficking.
At Iowa State, Rev. Cullen said that in the United States alone as many as 35,000 children go missing every year. Many are children who run away from sexual abuse in the home and neighborhood. Others are abducted and made sexual slaves by human traffickers.
Fr.Shay reminded the audience that as many as 13 million unfortunate adult and underage Africans are were kidnapped, abducted, captured and sold into slavery in North and South America over a period of 300 years upon which the early wealth of the nation in part was taken. "However today," Fr.Shay said, "more than 4.5 million women and children and poor working men are trafficked into slavery every year, most never escape and are forced into fishing boats, brothels and sex dens and made have forced abortions."
Rev. Cullen continued, "The demand is growing around the world with the power of the Internet. This is aided and abetted by the refusal of the Internet Server Providers in the Philippines and elsewhere to install filtering software and stop the proliferation of the child pornography.It is increasing the demand for child sex.When the sex tourists return to American,he said, the sex tourists are addicted to underage sex and are abusing American children daily."
PREDA had a recent success when its social workers rescued young women and children in 2013 from sexual slavery in Calapadayan in Subic Town. They were aided by U.S. Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers, Philippine police, and retired Australian police officers. They went undercover into the sex bars posing as tourists.
They identified the minors and the sex customers and traffickers. Arrests were made and the court cases are still going on in Olongapo City with a jailed US national on trial. Sex tourists are deserting Subic and Olongapo bars and clubs as a result out of fear of being identified by the undercover retired police officers.
Father Shay said and as many as 12 sex bars have now closed and others denied permits. "The chilling effect has been seen in the Olongapo area," he said "as sex tourists of many nationalities have a fear of being under surveillance and in danger of arrest in such bars."
Sex tourism is also a growing scourge that abuses and enslaves the children and women in developing countries and in Europe also where thousands of young girls are trafficked Germany and Austria every year where prostitution is legal.
However, while it may protect German and Austrian sex workers, there remain many women and children trafficked from the Ukraine and Belarus and other eastern European countries. "These girls," he said "are deprived of their passport and documents and are held against their will in brothels and are threatened if they try to escape."
In the Philippines, he said the most sex tourists come from South Korea, Japan and Australia and North America.The campaign to stop this and free the victims must go on. Fr.Shay illustrated hsi lecture with slides on the work of Preda, which includes a hospice and therapeutic center for child victims.
Fr. Shay was given an award on April 18 for his efforts on behalf of child victims of sexual slavery. His visit to Iowa State was organized with the help of Father Bill Brunner, and John Burke. Both are active in combating human trafficking in Iowa and work with the anti-human trafficking network who presented Preda with the award.
After his appearance at Iowa State, Fr. Shay went to give presentations in Los Angeles, Minneapolis-St Paul, and El Paso.