A Library for Cebu
It is estimated that 27 million people are currently victims of Human Trafficking. Various organizations have been successfully rescuing victims of trafficking and prosecuting perpetrators for years. With successful rescues came the problem of aftercare. Shelters and homes are not always equipped to effectively transition these young women to be self-sufficient members of society. Because of this and several other factors these survivors are frequently running back to a life of bondage and abuse, falling into a cycle of repeat trafficking.
Twenty-seven percent of the population in the Philippines lives at or below the poverty line. This poverty fuels the human trafficking industry. Young people are forced to drop out of school to work in jobs where they are exploited in order to help support their family. Sometimes the poverty is so desperate that children are sold into illegitimate jobs by their own parents.
How We Can Help
Traveling Stories is proud to partner with Red Window, an organization that provides job training to young people who have escaped trafficking in Cebu, Philippines. These teenagers need an education to secure legitmate employment. Our mission is to work with Red Window to establish libraries at four shelter/training centers by March 2013 and empower these youth to achieve economic independence! Here is a bit more info about each of the shelters that will receive a library:
Shelter 1 is a walk-in center run by some less than traditional Catholic clergy. A lay-minister with the center conducts outreach activities in the dark alleys of Cebu City’s poorer red light districts. He and a team of previously rescued girls go into bars selling minors and encourage young girls who are being manipulated into selling their bodies for sex that there is another option. These girls can come to the center any time for food and shelter. A social worker on staff there provides Red Window’s Job Readiness Training program to the girls once they’ve decided to pursue a safer life. A library for this center would allow those girls to prepare to go back to school so they can achieve it.
Shelter 2 is a government shelter run by the Philippines version of the Social Welfare department. This shelter takes trafficking survivor referrals from other NGOs and police, often after buy-bust sting operations that arrest the men and women exploiting young girls (usually 14-17 year old) for sex. This shelter’s house parent was trained by Red Window staff to implement the Job Readiness Training program so one day the poverty caused by vulnerability that often leads to exploitation can go away. Many of these girls need to go back to school for a brighter future. A library would help them prepare for a triumphant return to the classroom.
Shelter 3 is a longer term option for shelter 2. It’s privately run and provides psychological services to victims of trafficking and exploitation outside the city. A worker on staff provides the Job Readiness Training program to its clients, most of who are hoping for an opportunity to go to college some day and change their futures. A library could help them prepare for the education they desperately need.
The Red Window offices serve as the central hub for all of Red Window's outreach programs. A library here would be used by a new group of students each year and would provide advance resources to those who are completing their education and preparing for legitimate employment.