News/S.Korea: WOMEN-RIGHTS: "FOWL" PLAY GRIMLY DEPICTS SEX ...

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Subject: News/S.Korea: WOMEN-RIGHTS: "FOWL" PLAY GRIMLY DEPICTS SEX ...
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Fri Jan 01 1904 - 18:18:16 EST


           WOMEN-RIGHTS: "FOWL" PLAY GRIMLY DEPICTS SEX ...

OTC 10-20-99 1:08 AM

SEOUL, (Oct. 18) IPS - A novel theatrical presentation last week brought
home the grim facts of the worldwide sex traffic in women to delegates at
a summit of Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs), held in Seoul.
   In a switch from lengthy speeches, caucuses and debate, the conference
featured a simple and direct communication vehicle -- the theatre -- in a
presentation on sexual exploitation, something that delegates admitted
fine words alone could not do.
   Two Filipinos silenced their NGO colleagues and UN diplomats with their
"We're Syndicated, Ma'am," -- a work described as a "fowl play" that drew
an analogy between women and a chicken, particularly the Filipino favorite
dish "lechon manok."
   The play was inspired by a book written by author Chris de Stoop on the
sex traffic in women in Belgium -- titled "They Are So Sweet Sir: The
Cruel World of Traffickers in Filipinos and Other Women".
   In the stage version, Maria Paulin-Ballesteros handled chicken parts as
she prepared the lechon manok while fellow colleague Lakan Bunyi, using a
life-sized doll, explained how young women were groomed for the sex trade.

   They provided a stunning analogy on the similarity of the chicken dish
and a woman with the use of words like spring chicken, fresh, spices
(perfumed in women), tender, tasty, breast legs.
   "What do chickens and women have in common?" the actors asked.
   "Some people may snicker at the question but the answer is definitely
no laughing matter. Rather, the query presents a grim truth about the
ordeals of Filipina recruits by sex traffickers."
   The underlying message of the play is that, while Filipino consumers
may crave lechon manok, men around the world desire young woman and
children from the Philippines. And there is a message for the women that,
while there is nothing wrong in seeking greener pastures abroad, one must
be aware of the dangers of working overseas.
   NGOs intend staging the play in all regions of the world and a free
video production has been commissioned with funding from Belgium.
   Alice Quedraogo, a director with the International Labor Organization
(ILO) and head of the International Program on the Elimination of Child
Labor enthused: "This is what we need to make our point: more NGO
involvement and such a medium to captivate target groups."
   Peter Schatzer, Director of External Relations for the International
Organization on Migration (IOM) which promoted the play, put the value of
the trade in women at between $7-$10 billion annually, and he appealed for
stronger NGO commitment to combat it at home and abroad.
   Schatzer said the sex trade in Europe in the 1980s and 1990s, involved
girls from Southeast Asia, the Dominican Republic and Nigeria, but
traffickers now used women from their own continent, particularly
impoverished eastern Europe.
   IOM had begun "early-warning" campaigns in Ukraine, the Czech Republic
and Hungary and also was cautioning girls in Thailand on job offers from
Japan, Schatzer said.
   "Women are toys, men are the actors," said Paulin-Ballesteros. "The
business is syndicated and protected."
   The ILO believed the problem of trafficking in women was increasing and
was working with NGOs in preventative measures (providing alternative
education to girls at high risk) in Brazil, Kenya, Thailand, Bangladesh
and the Philippines.
   "Young girls are not the only victims of commercial sexual
exploitation," according to the ILO. "There has been noticeable increase
in the number of boy victims, especially in "sex tourism" and pornography.
The Internet explosion had made the situation worse, according to both the
ILO and IOM.
    Copyright 1999


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