US ambassador takes time-out for victims of prostitution
Baguio City – United States Ambassador to the Philippines H.E. Harry Thomas, Jr. sparked hope to night spot and bar entertainers July 19 after his visit to the City Health Services Office here.
The ambassador came to show support to the women who are victims of human trafficking and prostitution in the city.
The program gives 'night entertainers' access to basic education through the Alternative Learning System (ALS), a pet project of the Department of Education (Dep-Ed) in close coordination with the City Health Services Office and Kalinga-Crossover Ministries, a non-government organization working to get women out of the night entertainment industry.
ALS is a free education program instituted by Dep-Ed for the benefit of those who cannot afford formal schooling.
Kalinga Crossover Ministries and the health services office extended the ALS program to night entertainers and bar workers to give them a chance to change their lives thru basic education and livelihood.
The ministry spearheaded by its Executive Director Marita De Guzman Viloria has been working closely with the health services office here as they have access to night workers who come-in weekly for free health check-ups.
The city has been successful in regulating night entertainers by giving free services, counseling and registration and keeping close watch for 'Sexually Transmitted Disease(STD) and AIDS.
Ambassador Thomas, also an advocate against human trafficking and prostitution was overwhelmed with the real life stories of women and kids affected by prostitution.
He said, 'prostitution is rampant in most parts of the country due to poverty and lack of education and even dubbed prostitution as 'modern day slavery'.
At least 30 students of ALS composed of night entertainers and out-of-school-youth (OSY) has successfully graduated this year and a new set has started.
City Health Services Officer Dr. Florence Reyes said, 'the city will continue to partner with stakeholders in monitoring, counseling and helping women caught in prostitution in order to give them better chances in life'.
It can be recalled that City Mayor Mauricio Domogan has ordered immediate closure of some night establishments in the city which were reported to be involved in human trafficking and prostitution.
The city's Social Welfare Office has also strengthened monitoring activities in various night clubs and massage parlors to curb the incidence of the trade. ***paul rillorta