Next stop: Philippines

All pictures in post from Freeimages.com unless other source is stated

As I am still arranging the last things (read: pretty much everything) I can at least say it is for sure now I am going to the Philippines! For the coming four months I will be enjoying white beaches, blue waters, palm trees and crazy nature. And that looks something like this:

Chocolate hills photo – Photo credit: Juha Riissanen via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

Or even better, it looks like this:

Source: Joao Cajuda via Facebook and Youtube

A-MA-ZING isn’t it??? 🙂 🙂 But now that I have your attention I’ll have to admit, I lied a little bit. Yes, this is what the Philippines looks like, but I won’t be enjoying it like this, walking around in my bikini, sitting on the beach for the full four months (though I hope my weekends will look like this 😉 ). I am actually going to be there to do research and write my bachelor thesis, which I will be doing for the organization Visayan Forum.

Visayan Forum fights modern day slavery and human trafficking, because the sad truth is that there is still a lot of it today. “The Philippines is a leading source of migrant workers worldwide. […] A significant number from the 10 million Filipinos working abroad are subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor predominantly via debt bondage in the fishing, shipping, construction, education, nursing, and agricultural industries, as well as in domestic work, janitorial service, and other hospitality-related jobs, particularly across the Middle East, Asia, and North America.”

RISK FACTORS INCLUDE:

  1. Poverty
  2. Lack of education/illiteracy
  3. Unemployment
  4. Homelessness
  5. Lack of access to knowledge or protective information on human trafficking,?safemigration, and recruitment
  6. Family expectations that obligate children to help, augment, and support family needs
  7. Erosion of family values, dysfunctional families, and/or experience of abuse and maltreatment in the family
  8. Peer pressure
  9. Demand for cheap labor
  10. Demand for prostitution, especially for young victims (sexism/objectification of women)
  11. […] “

For more info check their website. The fact that this still exists, that we have actual human beings forced to do horrible things under horrible conditions, invisible for pretty much the rest of the world, makes me sad, sick and angry. It’s an obvious thing to say, but I also do not know how to express it differently. Thus, very much contrasting the immense beauty of the country, I will focus on something much darker and uglier.

However, the good news is: I can focus on something positive too. As I am a newby in the field it doesn’t make much sense to go in unexperienced trying to catch the bad guys, so that won’t be what I am doing 😉 I will make my actual research plan when I am there, but I will most likely focus my research on what knowledge the people have to guard themselves against traffickers and how we can get additional knowledge to them.

Besides slavery and human trafficking, it is good to be aware of the other issues the country has. This is also Philippines, rebel groups in the South joining ISIS is also Philippines, Duterte on a mission to kill anyone who has anything to do with drugs is also Philippines…

By now you might think: WHY are you then going there?! Seriously? Because first of all I think the work my internship organization does is important and I gladly contribute to it. Second, I also hear great stories about the Philippino people and how friendly they are. So by now I have actually no idea what to expect, as it is a beautiful country with at the same time some very real struggles it is going through. So I cannot wait to learn more, to see more and to get to know the people and to take you on that journey with me. One time I might write a more serious story (it’s called ‘honest travel stories’ after all) and next time just happy stories with pictures like the above. Let’s see!

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