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Modern Day Slavery

I have decided to work on the areas that the Roman Catholic Church and others seem to avoid. I think that poverty, overpopulation and empowerment of women are inter related. When men who abandon their own children are not held accountable, they continue the behavior. If held accountable they will be more careful...maybe even use a contraceptive. Other ways they are interconnected I have already written about.

Time and time again I have met Filipinas who are used and abused by their own families. Judge for yourself, I have been told that slavery and abuse are too strong for the stories that I now relate to you.

The first is a woman from a family of twelve coming from Mindanao but now living in Palawan. Her father is and has been a drunkard and would sometimes beat the mother. In fact the mother relates that she only wanted four children but whenever the father was drunk he insisted upon his husband's rights and that is how she got ten. Her daughter, whose story I relate, tried to stop the beatings when she was twelve and was also beaten. She was middle of the brood and raised her younger sisters and brothers, working long hours to put them through school. When she came of age she was encouraged to work abroad by her parents and worked for twelve years in foreign countries, sending her earnings home to her family. They used it to buy property on Palawan, a tractor, a thresher, livestock, generators and a welding machine. This allowed her younger brothers to earn from a welding shop and a tractor/thresher rental. When she was 34 years old she decided to go home to her family in Palawan and take a small piece of the property for herself. She was welcomed at first but when she asked for some of the income from the welding shop and rentals, she was told she should go abroad again and work.

The second story is of the eldest daughter of a family of eight. When she graduated from school at sixteen at the top of her class she was offered a scholarship to become an opthamologist. Her parents told her she must refuse the scholarship and work in a bakeshop twelve hours a day to earn money for the family. Since she is a lovely woman, when she turned 18 her parents and aunt told her to go to Japan and become an entertainment girl. When they refused, she was told to work in local bars as a bar girl. She again refused and found her own scholarship and now avoids the family.

What do you think about this sort of parenting? Is is justifiable due to poverty?

Rowland Lane Anderson

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