The Commission on Human Rights has found more cases of prostitution among city residents displaced by fighting between government troops and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) forces more than a year ago when the same commission looked into the problem.
“They are forced into prostitution, men, women, girls, boys,” Commissioner Jose Manuel Mamauag said. Worse, he said, those engaging in prostitution were getting younger, and many are drug users.
The Commission on Human Rights originally looked into the plight of the evacuees, and The Inquirer has recently ran an article about a young lady named Karina, a mother forced into prostitution to feed her family.
“When we started searching for this Karina … for some interventions, we discovered there are other Karinas and Karinos in that same situation,” Mamauag said.
Those displaced are among the many who lost their homes due to the fighting between government troops and MNLF forces in September 2013.
As of February this year, the number of displaced people in nine transitional sites and two evacuation centers totaled 19,855 persons. As of today, there are some 7,100+ people living at the Sports Complex in Zamboanga.
The Inquirer this time called for an interview with Ramanda Jose, one of those who are living in the sports complex – saying in fact that two young mothers, both aged 17, have been removed from the masters lists of those living at the complex and now roam around town, sleeping wherever they can.
When interviewed, the girls said they had no other choice but to engage in prostitution to earn a living.
Maria Socorro Roxas, city social welfare officer, said those who left the evacuation center or “transitory sites” (halfway shelters) were being removed from the master list.
Roxas said her office had been extending help to at least 13 prostituted men and women at the sports complex. She urged other prostituted men and women to report to the agency “so we can assist them.”