Let’s ‘name and shame’ sex traffickers, Cullen tells TDs
Respected Universe columnist Fr Shay Cullen has called for legislation and ‘name and shame’ to deal with the sexual exploitation of women and children.
The risks and contrasts in the life of the Irish Columban missionary were revealed during his recent inspiring presentation to TDs and senators in Leinster House.
He told how he was the subject of a recent death threat because of his work exposing human trafficking and the exploitation of women and children in the Philippines, whilst he has been nominated four times for the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of his work through PREDA Foundation (People’s Recovery Empowerment Development Assistance Foundation) which he founded in 1974.
Fr Cullen was in Ireland for a short visit after receiving the A.K. Shalom Award for Human Rights by a German university. It has been announced in the Netherlands that he will be the recipient of the 2017 Martin Buber Plaque Award there later in the year.
“The trafficking of women and children has become a very lucrative business as a modern version of human slavery that feeds the sex industry,” he said.
“Thousands of young women are victims of bonded slave-like labour in the sex bars that are licensed by local governments. These are mostly operated by foreigners and the customers are sex tourists from Ireland, the EU, North America and men from Asian countries are coming in their thousands. These men get addicted to underage sex and go back to their home countries to abuse children there,” he added.
Fr Cullen praised the Irish Government for enacting The Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2017 which makes it an offence to offer a prostitute money for sex. “This deterrent is a positive change in the law. I have campaigned for this change … in other European countries, so it’s good that Ireland is giving a strong lead.”
Fr Cullen warned that the latest development is using children for cyber sex.
“Prostitution and the exploitation of children through sexual abuse are being promoted by the very widespread availability of child pornography on the internet,” he said. “Children are being made to perform sexual acts on live camera and streamed to paying customers. Horrific videos of small children being murdered on camera have been found on computers in Europe, America and Brazil. The Australian who was doing this in the Philippines has been arrested.” Fr Cullen said children being abused online live can be accessed and the Philippine law that demands the internet service providers block and filter these images of child abuse and pornography is ignored by companies and government officials.
“Irish legislators can do two things to reduce such easy access to online pornography,” he said. “They can introduce laws to force internet service providers to block access and then enforce these laws.
“The Filipino Government introduced such a law – Republic Act 9775 or the Anti-Child Pornography Law – but it fails to enforce it because there are too many vested interests profiting from the sex trade.” Warning other countries, he said they “need to wake up to the risk and danger posed to their children by their own citizens who travel to the Philippines to experience sex with children and young girls. What will these men seek out when they return home? Paedophilia is a global business that is being fed by sex bars … in the Philippines and other places.”
Fr Cullen’s presentation was welcomed by TDs and senators, including members of the Oireachtas Foreign Affairs Committee, and representatives of APT Ireland (Act to Prevent Trafficking) led by their co-ordinator, Sr Geraldine McCarthy.
Picture: Front from left, Maureen O’Sullivan, Fr Cullen, Matt Moran, Fr Pat Raleigh and Fr Cyril Lovett. Back row, Fr Padraig O’Donovan, Srs Geraldine McCarthy, Mary Ryan and Mainin McDonagh of APT Ireland, and Maureen O’Sullivan TD. (Sarah MacDonald).Tags: Fr Cullen, Fr Shay Cullen, legislation, Leinster House, name and shame, Philippines, sex traffickers, sexual exploitation, Shay Cullen