This is an article that appeared in a website of an NGO monitoring the trafficking of Filipino women, et al around the world.
Last year, Japan passed a new Immigration Law that bans Filipinos from coming to Japan as hostesses for bars and clubs in Japan to stop the decades issue of deployment of the so-called "Japayukis" from the Philippines.
In response, the Philippine government delegated two or more Philippine Congressmen to talk with Japanese Immigration officials to grant Filipinos a waiver. They were turned down.
Still 1,000 Filipino women or more were smuggled to Japan even after the new Immigration Law was enforced, while the rest were sent to neighboring Korea, where they are apparently deployed to bars and clubs around US bases mainly.
Meanwhile, my fellow crusaders for the protection of Philippine interests in Japan are making sure that the Arroyo government will not be able to send anymore wannabe Filipino prostitutes to Japan. We keep our banner afloat: STOP THE JAPAYUKI!
Focus on the Process of Smuggling of Filipinas to Korea
Officials from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration report that they estimate Filipinas in the entertainment industry in Korea to be around 1,000, while those prostituted around the U.S. military bases to number 600. The officials attest that the women recruited are very young and indeed, mostly from Central Luzon, specifically the Pinatubo area. They are recruited through friends, and promised a job as entertainer or lured by prospects of marrying American GIs. The women are not asked of a placement fee and some are trained in Binan, Laguna. The POEA listed the names of suspected local recruiters as Leila Villaflor and a certain Boy Banag. They are reportedly in connivance with Mr. An S. H. of the Korean Special Tourist Association. Mr. An is said to be residing in Metro Manila and works with Mr. Kim Kyong-Su, a Provincial Councilor of Kyonky province. Mr. Kim was recently reported in Han Kyo Reh as being investigated by the Yong-San District Police for "importing 1,093 foreign women, from the Philippines and Russia, to work as entertainers near the U.S. military camp." He is being charged together with 2 other accomplices for illegal recruitment and forging of documents. He allegedly regularly receives commission from 234 club owners in the area.
The women are transported to the airports of either Subic or Cebu and flown to Bangkok as tourists since Thailand do not require visas. There, entertainment visas are secured by Mr. An for the women to go to Korea, supported by an invitation letter from Mr. Kim and false employment contracts. Subsequently, they are easily flown to Seoul.
There are also instances when the women go through the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, before entering which the women are instructed on what to say in case any immigration officer would question them. In fact, some airport officers watched them closely and facilitated their departure, according to the women. This was confirmed by another official, who stated that immigration officials receive at least $25,000 for every worker from the traffickers.
Upon coming to the clubs, women are made to undress on the third day, and perform sexual acts such as tabletop dancing and blowjob. They are paid $600 but only $300 go to the woman. Still, they are not given the money until after two months. The unbearable exploitation led two women to escape and report their conditions to officials. The Episcopal Commision for Migrants and Itinerant People of the Korean Catholic Bishops Conference reported that seven Filipinas ran to them for problems of contract violation, illegal taxation and prostitution. Not long afterwards, 15 other Filipina entertainers went to the Yong-san District Police to seek for assistance.
Addressing the Issue
Efforts of women's organizations in Korea that are working on the issue of prostitution have focused on Korean women, but recently brought attention to foreign women, including Filipinas. Since information from Filipinas around the bases is difficult to gather, the research that KCWU has started will break grounds towards informing the public on the reality of their sexual exploitation. The research investigates the process of entry of the women, their profile, situation in prostitution, and the harms to the women.
Such research work could be helped by CATW-Asia Pacific by investigating returnees from Korea. CATW has evolved a computer documentation system that records human rights violations to women. This technology could be shared with women's groups directly working with the victims. Such system would capture the details of events of violations, profile of the victims including the impact of the violations to them, the interventions applied, and other details. Findings generated from such documentation would tremendously assist advocacy work on the issue, may it be legal, support or policy advocacy. In terms of support to the women, the strategies for assistance could be sharpened when the harms and impact of the violations are recorded accordingly. Prosecution of the perpetrators, policy proposals and other actions will also be helped by such method of documentation, which could systematize the evidences as well as serve as basis of analyses of patterns in the violations.
CATW, with its network of Philippine women's groups, could drum up an information campaign, based on this case documentation, about the exploitation of Filipinas in Korea. The campaign shall also direct attention to the culpability of the U.S. military bases in the perpetration of the sexual abuse of women, as well as local authorities.
CATW shall take part in the networking efforts of women's groups and support groups for migrant workers in Korea, as well as with Philippine officials to set up a system of referral to assist the Filipinas escaping prostitution. This network will also be vital in the prosecution of the recruiters, establishments' officers and other accomplices in the trafficking of Filipinas, both in Korea, as well as in the Philippines.
In the regional and international levels, CATW will hold an inter-regional dialogue in Russia in March 2000, to discuss the trafficking of E. European women to countries in Asia and to explore legal strategies in combating the problem. Such action is reinforced by our findings that aside from the Filipinas, Russian women account for the most number of foreign women exploited around the U.S. bases in Korea. -Preventive work, including education among women in vulnerable situations and setting up of monitoring mechanisms, are being undertaken by CATW in the Philippines. We shall be happy to exchange with you on other strategies for prevention in both ends.