Filipino Women in Canada Help Mark Global Day of Action for Justice for World War II Comfort Women

Monday, July 26 2010

VANCOUVER, B.C. August 11, 2005 -- After 60 long overdue years of receiving no justice, Filipino women in Canada stood in solidarity yesterday with comfort women in the Philippines and around the world to protest theviolent use of sexual slavery by Japanese soldiers during World War II.

At the steps of Vancouver's Japanese Embassy, Filipino women with children and babies in tow heldsigns which read: "Justice for our lolas (grandmothers) and all victims of sex trafficking!" Testimonies from comfort women survivors and solidarity messages from Canadian, Korean and Filipino communities were declared as part of the global day of action for justice for comfort women.

"The Japanese government has remained silent in providing compensation for the lives it has destroyed," explained Rhodora Aberin, board member of the Philippine Women Centre of B.C. a member organization of the National Alliance of Philippine Women in Canada (NAPWC). "This is inexcusable," said Aberin.

"Out of 173 documented cases, 45 lolas have since died without receiving justice. Shamelessly, Japan has applied for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council," she continued.

A statement read on behalf of the NAPWC stated: "the violation of Filipino women as a weapon of imperialism did not start nor end with World War II. Filipino women continue to be used as military goods for U.S. troops. Prostitution, formerly confined around the U.S. bases, is now rampant throughout the entire Philippine islands." The statement further explained that, "with increased U.S. military occupation throughout the world and Asia in particular, Filipino women and children are increasingly used as sexual slaves through the rise of sex trafficking."

Everyday, more and more Filipino women are forced to migrate through the sex trade because of the country's intensifying state of poverty and unemployment. Filipinos are also commodified as cheap and docile labour on the global market.

Women in the Philippines also participated in the internationally coordinated action where the lolas (grandmothers) formed the word 'JUSTICE' from 60 lighted candles and flowers before the Japanese Embassy. "The Japanese should resolve the issue now by officially recognizing its war crimes and issuing a public apology and state compensation to all of its victims" stated Rechilda Extremadura, coordinator of Lila-Pilipina, an organization of Filipino comfort women and their families.

Members and supporters of NAPWC also vowed to continue to carry forward the Purple Rose Campaign, an international campaign to end the sex trafficking of Filipino women and children initiated by GABRIELA Philippines in 1999.

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