Filipino Women's Alliance Human Claims Trafficking Linked to Globalization

Monday, July 26 2010

August 22, 2005: A national alliance of Filipino women’s groups participated in a roundtable discussion on the trafficking of persons hosted by the Department of Justice and attended by Irwin Cotler, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada on August 11, 2005. The roundtable discussion updated the various stakeholders in attendance the status of the Ministry’s Criminal Code amendments "anchored in the three P’s – prevention, protection and prosecution." The proposed amendments have completed its first reading in the House of Commons.

Cecilia Diocson, national chairperson of the National Alliance of Filipino Women in Canada (NAPWC) who attended the roundtable discussion, stated "policy discussion on human trafficking must be raised to a political level and connected to the present situation of globalization." The NAPWC, representing women’s organizations in BC, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec, asserted that trafficking is inextricably linked to the present crisis of capitalism where it forces people, mainly women from the Third World, to migrate abroad, mainly to countries of the First World, where they face exploitation, oppression, and abuse.

There have been anecdotal reports presented in the media that employment agencies have been involved in trafficking women into Canada. "Human trafficking is a political issue. We must go beyond enforcement and legislation," continues Diocson. Nearly 100 000 Filipino women have entered Canada under Canada Immigration’s Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP). The workers under the LCP are forced to work as domestic workers and 24-hour home-support caregivers to children, people with disabilities and the elderly. 96% of workers under the LCP are from the Philippines. "The LCP is a form of modern-day slavery in Canadian history," asserted Diocson.

At the roundtable discussion, Cotler specially mentioned that more work needs to be done for Filipino women and the LCP. Diocson also expressed concern for the lack of government support and resources provided to organizations like the Philippine Women Centre of BC and NAPWC that has done much work in supporting trafficked Filipino women in Canada.

At the beginning of this year, the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) held a National Consultation to review the Live-in Caregiver Program. The NAPWC awaits the report of the National Consultation and the possible changes to the LCP.  According to the CIC, the report should be released soon.

For more information contact Cecilia Diocson at pwc@kalayaancentre.net

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