FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 13, 2014
Irma Bajar, Vice-Chair of International Relations, GABRIELA USA, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jo Quiambao, Co-Chair, GABRIELA Washington DC, Jo@gabrieladc.org
Queens, New York – On Saturday, May 10, 2014 over 100 people gathered together for the Summit on Human Trafficking: Communities Mobilizing Against Modern Day Slavery organized by St. James Episcopal Church and the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON), with GABRIELA USA and ten other organizations co-sponsoring the summit. Participants included survivors of human trafficking, community and service organizations, church groups, and notable public figures such as former Philippine Miss Saigon and current Global Director for the One Billion Rising Campaign Monique Wilson, Reverend Ray Bonoan of Holy Spirit Church in Florida, DJ Arucan of Gabriela Women’s Partylist of the Philippines, and Public Advocate Letitia James. The summit focused on Asia America, highlighting the experiences of trafficked survivors from home countries in the Asia-Pacific region who had been trafficked to cities in the United States.
The keynote speaker, Reverend Ray Bonoan of Holy Spirit Church in Safety Harbor, Florida shared examples of sex trafficking from Florida and discussed the rescue missions provided by the Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking, an international and domestic agency committed to raising awareness of the issue and rescuing survivors of human trafficking.
The highlight of the afternoon was a powerful panel of trafficked survivors who shared their life experiences in being a victim of human trafficking and how grassroots organizations like the Philippine Forum, GABRIELA DC, and NAFCON have helped them seek justice and struggle for their human rights. “All I want is for our recruiter to go back to jail and be prosecuted. The summit is just the beginning of more campaign work until both the Philippine government and U.S. government act as soon as possible and justice is served,” stated Janet Gardose, survivor and campaigns chairperson for GABRIELA DC.
Just days before the summit took place, an illegal recruiter and human trafficker named Isidro Rodriguez was released from prison in the Philippines. Isidro is the perpetrator who trafficked over 200 Filipino teachers to the U.S., many of whom are based in Washington DC and make up the membership of the GABRIELA chapter there. “For us, we are asking for support for the case of trafficked teachers who were victims of Isidro Rodriguez. It’s important that we continue to be united in order to continue our fight for justice and hold President BS Aquino accountable for continuing to exploit the Filipino people,” expressed Ma Filipina Ecleo, survivor and co-chairperson of GABRIELA DC.
Summit attendees hold WANTED signs demanding to Prosecute Isidro Rodriguez for Human Trafficking!