Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Sex Trafficking in NYC - Film Screening of "Very Young Girls"

GABNet screens "Very Young Girls," an award-winning expose of that follows teenage American girls as they are seduced, abused, sold and criminalized on New York streets.
Type rest of the post here

What does Sex Trafficking look like in your own backyard?

Join GABRIELA Network NY/NJ of the Mariposa Alliance

for a screening of “Very Young Girls”

Monday, July 27, 2009

7:00 pm


172 Allen St New York, NY 10002

RSVP gabnetnynj@gmail. com or call (212) 592-3507


Participate in a dialogue after the film with members of

Girls Educational & Mentoring Services (GEMS) , the only organization in New York State

specifically designed to serve girls and young women who have experienced

commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking.(to be confirmed)

“Very Young Girls” is an award-winning expose of that follows teenage

American girls as they are seduced, abused, sold and criminalized

on New York’s streets.

GABRIELA Network (GABNet) is the largest and oldest US-based multi-racial, militant feminist, anti-imperialist massgrassroots organization cultivating Filipina leadership. It's Purple Rose Campaign - now celebrating its 10th year - was one of the first to address how the

deleterious effects of globalization and militarism endlessly supply women and girls into sexual and labor exploitation.

Find us at Twittter, Facebook & Myspace

http://gabnetnynj. blogspot. com/

PO Box 403, Times Square Station, New York , NY 10036 * (212) 592-3507

>>Read more

Thursday, April 30, 2009

May Day: Demand Immigration Reform! Act to Dismantle Imperialism!

Rally for immigrant women's liberation this May Day, Fri., May 1 with GABNet NY/NJ and Immigrant Communities in Action (ICA). Meet at Union Square at 6 p.m. and look for the GABNet banners. Email contact:

May Day Statement of the GABNet/Ma-Al: Demand Immigration Reform; Act to Dismantle Imperialism


On this year’s International Workers’ Day GABNet of the Mariposa Alliance calls on all women to reaffirm their commitment to women’s liberation. March against imperialism and women’s exploitation; march for workers and immigrant rights!

The call for a Comprehensive Immigration Reform must be made in conjunction with steadfast resistance to the globalization policies and practices by US-led imperialism, and an equally steadfast support for people’s movements in the much-imposed upon continents of Asia, Africa and Latin America.

May First being International Labor Day, we must recognize the role that imperialism plays in the burgeoning of migration the world over. GABNet of the Mariposa Alliance understands that while comprehensive immigration reform may well solve certain basic issues afflicting our transnational communities here, the root cause of migration is US-led imperialism which has virtually made our home countries economically uninhabitable.

Women the world over have suffered exponentially under imperialist globalization, which exacerbates the patriarchal view that they are a disposable segment of the national population. Women are driven to acute poverty by the destruction of their traditional livelihood as multinational conglomerates take over national resources and re-organizes national economies into profit-generating machinery for their own benefit. Women are transformed into cheap labor and sex commodity, as witness in the export processing zones of the world and in the global sex trade. As if this injury is not sufficient, imperialist culture insults women by pandering the idea that women have value only in terms of how their sexuality can become a source of cash and profit. Women are being asked to ignore the history of prostitution as originating in slavery. Truly, imperialism exacerbates patriarchal values, disguising the objectification of women as “choice” and “agency.”

GABNet honors all women -- migrant, transnational and citizens -- for the nobility of their sacrifice to enable their families, communities and nations to survive. At this time when the financial system’s collapse reveals how greed and selfishness are rewarded the most, women continue to be expected to be selfless and generous, to the extent of suspending their own lives to become workhorses for nations ravaged by imperialism.

Women in developing countries across the world have long been the engine of development and growth, taking risks and working impossibly hard to provide for their families. Every day, approximately 3000 Filipinas leave their homes and children to enter precarious situations that can only be described as modern-day slavery. Sadly, from Nepal to Senegal, from Iraq to Palestine, our sisters have become a symbol of what imperialism means to women: sexual slavery, relentless exploitation, violence, and death.

The global economic crisis is devastating the lives of women workers and their families. In Asia and Latin America, women working in export manufacturing industries, like clothes and electronics, are often first to be laid off, frequently without pay or compensation. In the Philippines, sex traffickers prey on women who have been laid off from factory jobs, asking them if they want to go and work abroad. Over one million women and children are trafficked internationally every year, becoming victims of sexual exploitation, labor exploitation and abuse.

There is a direct line between the transformation of women into private property in 4500 B.C. and their continuing oppression and exploitation in the 21st century. Time to put a stop to this! Lay down the New Women’s Agenda! Equality for all in all spheres of human life!

Release date: April 21, 2009. Contact: Jollene Levid, Gabnet Secretary-General,, Tel: 323-356-4748

>>Read more

Monday, April 20, 2009

Sex Trafficking in Women and Girls: A Global Phenomenon

Olivia J. Quinto, GABNet Education Director, speaks at:

"Sex Trafficking in Women and Girls: A Global Phenomenon," a panel presented by The Young Professionals Committee of UNIFEM/USNC/NY

A phenomenon know as "modern day slavery," sex trafficking has become increasingly pervasive. The panel will feature experts in the field who are working to promote awareness of this horrific issue and combat human trafficking. Panelists will provide an overview of the problem on the international level, and examine the steps being taken to address the problem and bring the trafficked victims to safety.

Thursday, April 23rd at 6:00 pm. DOORS OPEN at 5:30 pm.
The New School, Swayduck Auditorium
65 Fifth Ave. New York, NY

Featured Panelists:
Olivia Quinto Reyes, GABRIELA Network
Cortney Rhoads Stapleton, RedLight Children Campaign
Shamiso Mbizvo, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

Moderator: Director Michael Cohen, Graduate Program in International Affairs, The New School. Co-sponsored by The New School Graduate Program in International Affairs

Go to for updates. RSVP BY Wednesday, April 22nd to

May 5, 2009, 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm, Recent Changes to Human Trafficking
Laws: An Analysis Of The Federal William Wilberforce Trafficking
Victims Protection Re-Authorization Act of 2008 and New York’s
Anti-Human Trafficking Law (2007) and Safe Harbor for Exploited Children
Act (2008)
>>Read more

EXIT CUCKOO: "Women's Work?" Wed 4/22 at 8p

Exit CuckooJoin GABNet member/founder Ninotcka Rosca at a special post-performance dialogue of EXIT CUCKOO - a new play by the Working Theater

Exit Cuckoo is a hilarious and profoundly moving collage of mothers, nannies, caretakers and children and the complex chemistry between them. "Lisa Ramirez gives us an inside look into the complicated, disturbing, often overlooked world of mothers, nannies and children.... Both brave and funny, Exit Cuckoo deserves our attention." -Eve Ensler

Exit Cuckoo
written & performed by Lisa Ramirez; directed by Colman Domingo
April 17-May 17, 2009
Clurman Theatre, 410 W 42nd St. or 212.279.4200

Join us for these special post-performance dialogues:

Wed 4/22 at 8pm: "Women's Work?"

With Ninotchka Rosca of GABnet and Phoebe Taubman of A Better Balance. Working both inside and outside the home is continuing dilemma for women- how do we cope as individuals and as a society?

Sun 5/3 at 3pm: "Employers for Justice"
Hosted by Jews for Racial and Economic Justice
What are common employment practices among employers of domestic workers- questions, difficulties and potential for change?

PAST: Sat. 4/18 at 2pm: "The Nanny Legacy"
Hosted by Domestic Workers United
What does the nanny-parent- child relationship look like when it works? Individual accounts of experiences being a nanny, employing a nanny and being nurtured by a nanny. Bring your story and share.
>>Read more

Thursday, April 16, 2009

GABNet Youth LA Condemns NYPD Police Brutality; Sends Message of Solidarity in Support of New School Protests

Maureen Ivy Quicho, Gabnet Organizing Director
Tel: (951) 333-4306

^GABNet NY/NJ member Ona Mirkinson protests New School University in New York City amidst incidents of abuse by the NYPD. Photo by NYTimes.

LOS ANGELES: Gabnet Youth LA of the Civitas School of Leadership at the Edward Roybal Learning Center condemns the actions of the New York Police Department, and stands in solidarity with the students of the New School, in their efforts to oust school president Bob Kerrey, former Nebraskan senator.

As Gabnet Youth recently led a thousand students to walk-out in Los Angeles, they support the New School students’ radical methods in New York. The New School students attempted to occupy the building on April 10, 2009, in order for their demands to be heard; they were subsequently beaten, pepper-sprayed and arrested by police officers.

“We should be able to exercise our right to protest without being unjustly attacked,” says Gabnet Youth leader Teresa Avalos.

Gabnet Youth LA is fighting a similar battle the New School students are waging. While the New School students are calling for the resignation of Kerrey, “a politician without a Ph.D,” as his intentions are aimed at economic profit, rather than academic excellence, Gabnet Youth LA is protesting the efforts of the LAUSD to pull itself out of a deficit by issuing pink slip notifications that will terminate thousands of teachers. Gabnet Youth member Ivania Zepeda drew parallels between the two struggles as she stated, “Just like the New School students, we are fighting for our basic right to a quality education, which should not be sacrificed for money or power.”

Gabnet Youth is committed to highlighting the experience of young women, and has been meeting and addressing various issues including educational justice and gender violence. Gabnet Youth is a unit of the Los Angeles chapter of Gabriela Network, a US-Philippine women's organization with chapters across the country. --###
>>Read more

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Afghan women protest law that legalises marital rape

Afghan women protest against law that 'legalises rape'

April 15, 2009, The Guardian - Hundreds of angry Afghan women gathered outside the Kabul mosque run by a hardline Shia cleric today to protest against a law that human rights organisations claim legalises marital rape.

About 200 women chanted slogans and carried banners outside the imposing Khatam Al Nabi mosque and seminary run by Mohammad Asif Mohseni, the cleric who has strongly promoted a law that also bans women from leaving their homes without the permission of their husbands.

Meanwhile, a roughly equal number of largely male counter-protesters shouted "Allahu Akbar" and furiously protested against what they see as largely foreign pressure to impose western cultural norms on Afghanistan.

According to Associated Press, some of the women were pelted with stones by opponents. >>Read more >>Read more

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

GABNet Launches New Offensive against Human Trafficking

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: As Women's History Month draws to a close, GABNet of the Mariposa Alliance prepared to launch a new offensive through the formation of Purple Rose Campus Committees, the latest in its arsenal of weapons against the trafficking of women and children. The Purple Rose Committees, based in 12 colleges and university campuses in California, will combat the near pandemic proportions of human trafficking and modern day slavery. Other Purple Rose committees around the U.S. are in the works.

The Purple Rose Campaign was established by GABNet in 1999 in response to the 850,000 persons that are trafficked internationally. The Campaign addresses the growing numbers of Filipinas who are trafficked into the sex trade, particularly through the Filipina Mail Order Brides in the United States. The campaign recently won successes as part of the advocacy group pushing the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act (IMBRA), which was re-authorized last year.

“It’s not enough to just work on legislation, we have to talk about trafficking at the community level. That’s the way to identify and service victims." said Jollene Levid, Secretary General of GABNet.

March 29, 2009
Jollene Levid, Gabnet Secretary-General
Tel: 323-356-4748


March 28, 2009, Los Angeles - On Saturday, March 28, 2009, GABNet of the Mariposa Alliance prepared to launch Purple Rose Campus Committees, the latest in it's arsenal of weapons against the trafficking of women and children. The initial 12 campus-based Purple Rose Committees are in the works to combat the near pandemic proportions of human trafficking and modern day slavery.

Annually, over 850,000 persons are trafficked internationally. Human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world, generating billions of dollars in profits from the modern day slave trade. GABNet began the Purple Rose Campaign as part of an international effort in 1999.

The Purple Rose Campaign was established to address the growing numbers of Filipinas who are trafficked into the sex trade, particularly Filipina Mail Order Brides in the United States. The campaign recently won successes as part of the advocacy group pushing the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act (IMBRA), which was re-authorized last year.

“It’s not enough to just work on legislation. We have to talk about trafficking at the community level. That’s the way to identify and service victims. It’s also the way to address the root causes of why so many Filipinas are trafficked- namely poverty and militarization in the Philippines” said Jollene Levid, Secretary General of GABNet.

The Purple Rose Campus Committees are composed of students, faculty members,and community members who are interested in organizing and raising awareness about the trafficking issue. Each committee has pledged to hold two main events during the year: a fundraiser and a community awareness raising training. The funds raised from their efforts will benefit victim services.

“We felt it was time for students to become more involved. The youth have a great capacity to create change and educate others on what is going on. The Purple Rose Campaign is a formal way for high schools, colleges, and universities to show their support,” stated Loralei Bingamon, Director of GABNet LA’s Filipinas Not For Sale Campaign.

The first wave of the Purple Rose Campus Committees will be in the Southern California area, but will eventually be a national effort. The first 12 campuses include the University of Southern California (USC), Mount Saint Mary’s University, Universities of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Irvine(UCI), and San Diego (UCSD), California State Universities Long Beach (CSULB), Los Angeles (CSULA), and Northridge (CSUN), and Santa Monica Community College (SMCC). There are also high school committees at Civitas School of Leadership, Narbonne, and Cerritos High Schools.The creation of the Purple Rose Committees and a Women’s Month celebration in Los Angeles with over 250 people in attendance on Saturday night, March28th closed Gabnet’s 2009 national Women’s Month activities. --###
>>Read more

Monday, March 30, 2009

Alternative Law Groups'S Statement on "Nicole's" Affidavit

The Alternative Law Groups, Inc. (ALG) asserts that the recently released sworn statement by Nicole fails to make a credible retraction of her testimony during the trial of the Subic rape case. ALG is a coalition of 20 legal-resource NGOs that work for justice system reforms in the Philippines.

Nicole's sworn statement should not bear any legal significance on the appeal of the conviction now pending with the Court of Appeals or on the issue of custody of convicted American soldier Daniel Smith. This latest development is especially relevant, however, as it clearly exemplifies how women victims of violence, as well as members of marginalized and vulnerable groups, have been at a disadvantaged position in the country’s justice system. What is particularly disturbing are the circumstances surrounding the affidavit’s execution. The preparation of the affidavit without the assistance--and without the knowledge--of Nicole’s counsel clearly established a lopsided situation with Nicole at the losing end. The affidavit glaringly presented the defense version.

The ALG has always pointed out the difficulties that are experienced by women victims of violence and members of marginalized groups in sustaining the prosecution or litigation of a case in court, caused, among others, by the lack of support systems for victims and complainants. This was reiterated in last year’s Forum on Increasing Access to Justice that was organized by the Supreme Court. In the Subic rape case, this problem took on a new and uglier twist as the government itself took the side of the accused, despite his conviction, and willingly, and even surreptitiously, relinquished custody over the convicted person to the United States authorities. With the trial court’s conviction of the accused, the successful prosecution of the Subic rape case was hailed as a triumph of our justice system. Subsequent developments would prove the reality that, in many cases, women victims of violence, and members of marginalized sectors, suffer further victimization as they seek remedy from the justice system. Read ALG's full statement. >>Read more

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Fil-Ams bring protest vs. VFA to Pentagon

GABNet NY/NJ was quoted in ABS-CBN News article about militant resistance to war on the 6th anniversary of the U.S. invasion in Iraq:

“[Nicole, survivor of rape by U.S. military in the Philippines] was pressured by both governments to withdraw her case even though in 2006 Daniel Smith was convicted because of the evidence,” declared Catherine Judge, GABRIELA Network coordinator for New York-New Jersey.

Fil-Ams bring protest vs. VFA to Pentagon
Mar. 25, 2009, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau
WASHINGTON D.C. - Militant Fil-Ams brought their clamor for scrapping the RP-US Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) to the Pentagon, joining thousands of anti-war protesters marking the 6th anniversary of the US war in Iraq last Saturday.

“We’re here to denounce the continued occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, and the US support for Israel against Palestine,” said Chevy Evangelista of Alliance Philippines.

“But most of all,” he added, “we’re here to oppose the Visiting Forces Agreement in the Philippines that is a source of attacks on the people of Mindanao.”

“We want the VFA scrapped. No US troops in the Philippines, they have no business there,” Evangelista told ABS-CBN’s Balitang America.

It was no surprise his message resonated with Americans gathered for the large anti-war rally, the biggest yet since President Obama was swept to power, partly on a platform of ending the US war in Iraq.

Organizers put their numbers at 10,000 but police pegged the crowd at a lower 3,000.

The police also came in full force, blocking freeway exits and roads around the Pentagon. Backed by fire trucks and a Huey helicopter that circled continuously above the marchers, the policemen were in full anti-riot regalia.

But this didn’t stop some demonstrators from taunting the cops.

Some rode on motorcycles and squad cars, others on horses. Using binoculars, some officers took vantage positions on rooftops of office buildings, keeping a wary eye on the protesters.

The police also threw a protective ring around the offices of big US firms like Boeing, SAIC and KBR that have huge contracts with the Pentagon.

Demonstrators accused them of supporting US wars abroad.

The day’s protest action started with speeches near the Lincoln Memorial. Evangelista, who together with other Filipino protesters, came all the way from New York, was among the speakers at the makeshift stage.

“It’s very important to be here because Filipinos are affected by the US war in Iraq, especially our migrant workers in the Middle East,” Mona Lunot of the Damayan Migrant Workers told Balitang America.

“The US economic crisis is rooted in the unbridled spending for America’s wars around the world,” she averred.

Lunot blames the war for the loss of jobs as America’s recession adversely affects the rest of the world.

She asserts that the US has used the global war on terror as a pretext for posting troops in “frontline” countries, including the Philippines.

VFA tied to ‘Nicole’ saga

“American soldiers are going to the Philippines, for what? Para magkalat ng lagim?” she asked.

The VFA sets the rules of engagement and conduct for US troops posted in the Philippines. The RP-US Mutual Defense Treaty calls on the American military to come to the Philippine’s aid if it is attacked by another country, and lays the basis for annual joint training exercises.

But the accord has come under steady attack from militants back home, especially in the wake of the “Nicole” saga.

US marines Lance Corporal Daniel Smith was convicted of raping ‘Nicole’ inside the former US Navy base in Subic, Zambales.

Smith’s trial and conviction were all covered under the VFA. Invoking the agreement, however, the Philippines was only able to take brief custody of the accused before he was whisked off in the middle of the night to the US embassy in Manila.

Even after he was convicted, Smith remained in US hands.

Earlier this month, Nicole signed a new affidavit that cast doubt on her own testimony of rape. The assertion was made public by Smith’s Filipino lawyers. Before that, news leaked that ‘Nicole’ was now living somewhere in the US.

“She was pressured by both governments to withdraw her case even though in 2006 Daniel Smith was convicted because of the evidence,” declared Catherine Judge, GABRIELA Network coordinator for New York-New Jersey.

“Some people may see this as intimidation of a powerless woman because of the lack of justice in the Philippines and US,” Lunot declared.

“Some foreigners may also now see Filipinas in a bad light, as someone who can be paid off,” she said, adding, “it all depends on who is looking.”

Judge said all future military pacts by the Philippines should have clear guarantees against abuses.

“We demand clauses in all military agreements to protect women against violence from the military,” she stressed.

As the protesters snaked through DC’s streets and across the Memorial Bridge to Arlington, Virginia, they carried symbolic coffins, including one that bore the Philippine flag.

They stood for the human cost of America’s wars, waged in the name of global security.

“We don’t need them there. We can protect ourselves, we don’t have to depend on America,” Lunot declared.

Read the ABS-CBN article on their website.
>>Read more

Sunday, March 22, 2009

GABNet/Ma-Al Protests War in D.C., Los Angeles and San Francisco Anti-War Rallies

^Left: GABNet NY/NJ addresses the masses at anti-war rally in Washington, D.C. Right: GABNet members carry casket draped with the Philippine flag, representing those killed by U.S. troops and puppet government in the Philippines.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: GABNet of the Mariposa Alliance was present at all three major anti-war rallies called by the ANSWER Coalition. The biggest assembly was in Washington D.C. where 10,000 marched past the PENTAGON and the headquarters of major war profiteers like Halliburton's Kellogg, Root and Brown Corporation. Several tense moments transpired when Pentagon and State police tried to block the delivery of mock caskets to the war profiteers' headquarters.

One casket was draped with the Philippine flag, to represent those killed by U.S. troops in the island of Mindanao, as well as those killed by U.S. imperialism's puppet government in the Philippines headed by Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo...

Four thousand U.S. troops are in the Philippines, ostensibly for the annual joint military exercises with the Philippine Armed Forces but actually to engage in the suppression of the Moro sovereignty movement, as well as the progressive movement in the archipelago.

GABNet joined forces with the Alliance for a Just and Lasting Peace in the Philippines in Washington, D.C., women flocked to the Gabnet contingent in Los Angeles, and in San Francisco, Gabnet was pivotal to forming a women's contingent, alongside WILPF, CODEPINK, Women for Genuine Security, and other women's organizations. Pictures attached.

March 22, 2009
Jollene Levid, Gabnet Secretary-General
Tel: 323-356-4748

>>Read more

Kilos Babae! (Act Now Women!)

GABRIELA Network Publishing Center released the latest edition of Kilos Babae, kaWOMENan! (Act Now Women!). kaWOMENan is a newsletter in response to the urgent need for information and education on the political, economic, social and cultural struggles confronting Filipino women and the connection of their issues with US policy decisions.

Inside the issue (Version XIX, Issue 1, Spring 2009), which is available on the kaWOMENan web page of the GABRIELA Network website:
* GABNet Demands President Obama to Protect Women’s Rights
* Stop the Traffick Jam Caravan and Concert in Southern California
* Poem by DJ Kuttin Kandi: Reflections of a Holiday Journey Home to Queens 2008
* School on Gender Rights for Filipino Domestic Workers opens in New York, led by GABNet of Mariposa Alliance and Damayan Migrant Workers Association
* In Commemoration of International Working Women’s Day
* GABNet/Ma-Al Condemns Israel’s Attack on Gaza
* 16 Days of GABNet (Against Gender Violence) & International Human Rights Day
* Exit Cuckoo, a new play about nannies and the families who employ them, opening in New York City
* A Decade of Purple Roses
* GABNet Reflections and Campaigns and more...

What’s in a name? Kilos-Babae comes from the Tagalog phrase "Act, woman," which has an effeminate connotation for men and as a derogatory command to women to do something (for men). We reclaim this phrase to mean Act Now, Women! as the foundation for militant women’s organizing and empowerment. kaWomenan combines ka from the Tagalog word "kasama" meaning companion or comrade; the English word "women;" and the Tagalog suffix "an" meaning reciprocity. Used together, "ka" and "an" mean collectiveness.
>>Read more

Thursday, March 19, 2009


On November 1, 2005, Nicole, a 22-year-old Filipina, was observed being dumped out of a van in a semi-unclothed and semi-conscious state. The van contained three U.S. troops who were in the Philippines for the annual joint military exercises with the Philippine Armed Forces. Lance Cpl. Daniel Smith was subsequentlly charged with rape before the Philippine courts. He was found guilty and sentenced to 40 years. After spending 30 days in a Philippine jail, he was spirited out at midnight to the U.S. embassy where he is said to remain while his case goes through the Court of Appeals. This month, Nicole signed an affidavit saying she might have given the wrong signals to Cpl. Smith. She was given an immigration visa for the U.S. The Filipino people are demanding that the Visiting Forces Agreement signed by President Bush and President Estrada, who was overthrown in 2001, be abrogated for its onerous provisions against the sovereignty of the Philippines.


March 18, 2009
His Excellency, Barack H. Obama
President of the United States of America
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington DC 20500

Cc: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi

Dear President Obama:

We write to you because we are disturbed and anguished by reports that the U.S. government was complicit in the attempt to frustrate the course of justice with regard to the rape conviction of Lance Cpl. Daniel Smith in the Philippines.

A majority of our members are women of Philippine ancestry who already have to contend with the persistent reputation of Filipinas as among the most trafficked women in the world, both in the international labor and sex markets, and as among those so victimized by sexual and domestic violence.

Nine of the eleven women recently killed by intimate partners in Hawaii were Filipinas, who also comprise 40% of women killed by intimate partners in San Francisco. Filipino-American communities, from New Jersey to Honolulu, suffer a high rate of violence against women. This perception of Filipinas as "fair game" for sexual and other forms of violence was created, among other causes, by more than a hundred years of being prostituted to the U.S. military.

Enabling a member of the U.S. military now to avoid legal repercussions for having sex, to the rowdy cheers of his fellow soldiers, with an indisputably intoxicated 22-year-old woman, who was then tossed out of the van in a state of semi-undress and semi-consciousness, is certainly not the change we have been waiting nor looking for. These facts were not disputed at the trial in the Philippines that convicted Lance Cpl. Daniel Smith in 2006.

Many states in the United States itself accept by law the fact that an inebriated woman cannot consent to have sex. This inability to give consent supersedes any other circumstance that may appear to encourage sexual attention, like wearing a short skirt, being flirtatious, or even kissing the violator. In those states, what transpired between “Nicole” and Cpl. Smith would be considered rape, especially as nothing was brought forth at the trial that would imply consent on Nicole’s part.

We worry now that because of this bargain between the U.S. and Philippine governments, U.S. military personnel may return to the U.S. believing that soldiers have the right to force sex upon women in whatever circumstance. No doubt you are already familiar with the unconscionable rate of sexual harassment, rape and violence against women suffered by female soldiers and military wives. This will but add to the U.S. military’s mistaken impression that war, occupation or just being more powerful and with more weapons than anyone gives them the right to defy U.S. laws, host countries’ laws and international law.

The Nicole incident happened in November, 2005 and the following year, in September, 2006, 14-year-old Abeer Qassim Hamza was gang-raped and murdered, along with her parents and younger sister, by U.S. troops in Iraq.

If, way back in November 2005, the U.S. government and the U.S. military had taken a strong stand against our troops inflicting sexual violence/violence upon women in general and upon women of host countries in particular, then we would not have this spectacle of avowed “liberators” gang-raping and killing those they purportedly “liberate.”

Instead, the U.S. military threatened the Philippine government with cancellation of humanitarian aid, with cancellation of joint military exercises, and the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines did everything possible to frustrate the carrying out of justice for the rape of Nicole.

This is not the change we waited for.

In this era of change you vowed to bring with your inauguration as president, at the very least, we are asking for specific provisions protective of women, and against violence against women, trafficking and prostitution in each and every military agreement, every Status of Forces and Visiting Forces Agreement, that U.S. enacts with another country.

This would help institutionalize, on a global scale, the pro-women stance that your administration made visible through your signing of the Ledbetter Act and the creation of the White House Women’s Council.

Thank you. We await your reply – preferably with action.

Respectfully yours,

Annalisa Enrile (interim Chair) Candace Custodio (Chair-elect)
Jollene G. Levid (Secretary-General)
>>Read more

Women say NO to war!

March on the Pentagon, Saturday, March 21, On the 6th Anniversary of the invasion of Iraq

From Iraq to Afganistan, Philippines to Palestine
Women say NO to war!

Get on the bus on March 21 from Jackson Heights, Queens!
6:30 AM Bus leaves Dunkin Donuts at 74 St. & Roosevelt Ave., Queens
11:30 AM Bus arrives in DC
5:00 PM Bus leaves from DC
$40 Bus tickets (limited)
GABRIELA Network/Mariposa Alliance:,,
Alliance for a Just and Lasting Peace in the Philippines:,

- What’s special about March 21?
- How are our immigrant communities affected by the war on Iraq?
- How are we as women affected by the war on Iraq?
- How are other members of the Filipino American community affected by the war on Iraq?

What’s special about March 21?

March 21 marks the sixth anniversary of the current US war on Iraq. Organized by the Act Now to Stop the War and End Racism (ANSWER) Coalition, simultaneous rallies will be held in Washington DC, San Francisco, Los Angeles and other major cities across the US.

In New York City, Queens-based organizations Ugnayan ng mga Anak ng Bayan (Linking the children of the Motherland), Damayan Migrant Workers Association, and Gabriela Network / Mariposa Alliance are urging immigrant communities from the borough and in New York and New Jersey to join the March on the Pentagon in Washington DC on Saturday, March 21.

Filipino-Americans, who comprise the base constituency of these organizations, have a stake in making their voices heard, as US troops pour into the Philippines, Filipinas are subjected to military rape with impunity and the war between the Arroyo Government and the people of Mindanao escalates. We do not want our ancestral country turned into a war zone for the profit of US weapons manufacturers and Blackwater mercenaries.

Obama promised that the US occupation of Iraq will end in August 2010. So why should we still join in the anti war rally on March 21?

The continuing US led wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine and Philippines impact the current US economic meltdown. Obama has allotted $200B for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars for the next two years - that's about $100M a day at the back of the already suffering tax payers. This includes immigrants who are the first to lose jobs, homes and government services and suffer the higher cost of living.

How are our immigrant communities affected by the war on Iraq?

While the US government is allocating more money to fund the war in Iraq, the budget for social services are being slashed. The State Medical Insurance for Children was severely limited to children whose parents are "legal" or "documented" immigrants. This means that hundreds of thousands of children, born in the USA, will grow up without medical assistance.

With the pending budget cuts in New York City, tuition fees are projected to go up astronomically by next semester. This endangers the ability of young people, especially Filipino Americans, to acquire an education which would enable them to compete in the job market.

The Filipino-American community also suffers from the highest drop-out rate among Asian American communities. We Filipino Americans are practically invisible in the US society. That’s because we occupy mostly service jobs – not jobs of decision-making status.

How are we as women affected by the war on Iraq?

Women comprise the majority of the world's population. Violence against any nation impacts women exponentially. War increases violence against and trafficking of women. Women and children comprise war's collateral damage; they lose their value as human beings and become commodity who are bought and sold for the pleasure of those with power. Even women soldiers suffer from the violent machismo that is a sub-culture of militarism. American women soldiers are raped by their fellow soldiers, while military wives are often subjected to domestic violence and murder.

How are other members of the Filipino American community affected by the war on Iraq?

While the US government bails out capitalist banks and corporations, it only gives pennies to Filipino American World War II Veterans. These are former Filipino soldiers who fought during World War 2 in the Philippines under the US army. However, they are not treated equally as US veterans and are deprived of all benefits and entitlements because “their military service were not deemed active”.

Sixty-three years later, the US government would only give $15,000 lump sum for each Filipino veteran without any recognition to our US veterans. They are also being forced to agree to the the "quit claim" provision. This means that upon acceptance of the lump sum, the veterans will release future claims including lifetime pension.

As the US government continues to humiliate the Filipino veterans, they will keep funding the War on Iraq.

War Forces Migration!
Money for Workers' Rights & Compensation, Not for War and Occupation!
Violence against Nations = Violence against Women!
Solidarity with the Women of Iraq, Aghanistan, Palestine & Philippines!
War Kills the Filipino and Working Class Youth!
Money for Jobs & Education, Not for War & Occupation!
Money for the Filipino Veterans, Not for the War!
>>Read more

Friday, March 6, 2009


When Norma’s quadriplegic employer asked her to use her hands instead of a washcloth to soap and wash certain parts of his body, she was unsure whether this was par for the course or something else altogether. When Marina ’s employer demanded massages, she wondered if this was part of domestic work in the US . Anna, on the other hand, didn’t quite know how to respond to her employer’s predilection for showing her porn websites.

Because of these and other situations encountered by domestic workers, GABNet of the Mariposa Alliance and the Damayan Migrant Workers Association have initiated a School on Gender Rights for Filipino Domestic Workers. Funded by the New York Foundation, the project is the first of its kind nationally and historically. The first session will be on April 5th, at the North Star Fund Office, 520 Eight Avenue, New York, NY 10018.

Press release

Contact: Ollie Quinto, GABNet Education Director, at 212-592-3507
or email


NEW YORK : When Norma’s quadriplegic employer asked her to use her hands instead of a washcloth to soap and wash certain parts of his body, she was unsure whether this was par for the course or something else altogether. When Marina ’s employer demanded massages, she wondered if this was part of domestic work in the US. Anna, on the other hand, didn’t quite know how to respond to her employer’s predilection for showing her porn websites.

Because of these and other situations encountered by domestic workers, GABNet of the Mariposa Alliance and the Damayan Migrant Workers Association have initiated a School on Gender Rights for Filipino Domestic Workers. Funded by the New York Foundation, the project is the first of its kind nationally and historically. The first session will be on April 5th, at the North Star Fund Office, 520 Eight Avenue, New York, NY 10018.

Those interested are requested to register either with GABNet at (212) 592-3507 or with Damayan at (212) 564-6057.

“It is a landmark and collaborative project created by im/migrants and second generation Filipina-Americans,” said Catherine Mercedes Judge, coordinator of the GABNet NY/NJ chapter. “When it comes to gender rights, violence against women and gender discrimination, we are not so different from our mothers, aunts, even grandmothers. We have a shared experience on this issue."

Olivia Quinto, GABNet National Education Director, will lead the first session. “From the first batch of participants, we will select those with the potential to be peer counselors." she said. "They will receive further training from Dr. Annalisa Enrile, who is an associate clinical professor of the School of Social Work at the University of Southern California.”

Ms. Quinto explained that this was to ensure that the domestic workers were empowered to deal with issues of gender rights themselves. “It is an expression of respect on our part that we consider them perfectly capable of tackling such issues once they are in receipt of knowledge and training.”

Report to Be Released

At the conclusion of the two-part training, Damayan intends to release its two-year study on domestic workers from the Philippines. The report is based on a qualitative survey, in-depth interviews of and focus group discussions with about 200 domestic workers from the Philippines. A joint project of Damayan and the Urban Justice Center , the report was prepared with the assistance of the renowned journalist and novelist Ninotchka Rosca.

The report will include an analysis of the impact of the Philippine Labor Export Policy on migration, antecedents of domestic workers in Philippine history and a set of recommendations for policy makers.

Those interested in obtaining copies of the report should call Damayan at the above number or send a letter to Damayan Migrant Workers Association, 406 West 40th Street 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10018.

The Damayan Migrant Workers Association is the largest organization of Filipino domestic workers in the US. In its six years of existence, it has helped a dozen workers recover unpaid wages; it is in the leadership of a six-organization coalition of domestic workers pushing for a Domestic Workers Bill of Rights. The bill is anticipated to pass the New York legislature this year. Damayan hit the headlines recently when a member, Marichu Baoanan, sued a former Philippine ambassador to the United Nations for trafficking and peonage.

GABNet of the Mariposa Alliance is a 20-year-old US-Philippine all-women solidarity mass organization. It has had a long history of advocating for the gender rights of Filipinas and Filipina-Americans. Its Purple Rose Campaign against the trafficking of Filipinas led to the passage of the International Marriage Broker Regulatory Act by the US Congress. -- ##
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Wednesday, March 4, 2009


On August 18, 2006, seven young African American lesbians traveled to New York City from their homes in Newark for a regular night out. When walking down the street, a man sexually propositioned one of the women. After refusing to take no for an answer, he assaulted them.

The women tried to defend themselves, and a fight broke out. The women were charged with Gang Assault in the 2nd degree, a Class C Felony with a mandatory minimum of 3.5 years. Patreese Johnson was additionally charged with 1st Degree Assault. Three of the women accepted plea offers. On June 14th, 2007 ,Venice Brown (19), Terrain Dandridge (20), Patreese Johnson (20), and Renata Hill (24) received sentences ranging from 3 1⁄2 to 11 years in prison.

GABNet-NY/NJ stands with the NJ4 against violence against all women!

Check out the NJ4 blog to support their efforts at >>Read more

Increases in wives' income contributions affect psychological well-being of husbands

University Park, Pa. -- Being the main breadwinner still seems to carry an important distinction for husbands and their sense of well-being, says a Penn State researcher. In reacting to increases in their wives' percentage contribution to overall family income, men appear to experience declines in well-being as measured by their reports of depressed feelings, varying levels of life satisfaction and physical symptoms such as headaches, says Dr. Stacy J. Rogers, assistant professor of sociology and human development and family studies. She notes that, paradoxically, the husbands' marital happiness is not affected to a significant degree. "It may be that the persistence of bread-winning expectations for men in our culture contributes to personal pressure and stress when their wives increase the percentage that they are contributing to the total household income," Rogers notes. >>Read more at >>Read more

Join ANSWER's Anti-War March in DC - March 21, 2009

More information to follow...
>>Read more

Lay Down The New Women's Agenda For Full Women's Liberation!

[Statement in support of GABRIELA Network and Mariposa Alliance by National Alliance of Philippine Women in Canada (NAPWC), SIKLAB National, Philippine Canada Task Force on Human Rights, and Filipino Canadian Youth Alliance (PCYA), and affiliates]

On the occasion of International Women’ Day, we support GABNet and the Mariposa Alliance in their call to lay down a New Women's Agenda attuned to the needs of our time for the full liberation of humankind. As we continue to march into the 21st century, such a call is appropriate and correct in the amidst the rising global economic crisis and continuing growth of transnational women and their families with their own specific and particular issues.

For over ten years now, GABNet and the member organizations of the National Alliance of Philippine Women in Canada (NAPWC) have been working and continue to work together for genuine development and equality of women in their respective geographical locations in North America. They have also separately and jointly supported and continue to support the struggle of women in the Philippines for national and social liberation.

We are glad that this effort of GABNet and Mariposa Alliance to start laying down a New Women’s Agenda is fully grounded in their scientific understanding of women issues and their actual experience and practice in North America. This signifies a further advance in our continuing endeavor of learning from our experience and raising this experience to the realm of theory which in turn, should guide our subsequent practice.

On the occasion of this International Women’s Day, we wish GABNet and Mariposa Alliance success in this effort and in firmly holding up “half of the sky.”

Long live GABNet and the Mariposa Alliance !
Long live International Women’s Day !
Forward to a New Women’s Agenda for transnational women and their communities !

National Alliance of Philippine Women in Canada (NAPWC) and affiliates:
Philippine Women Centre of BC
Philippine women Centre of Ontario
Philippine women Centre of Quebec
Philippine women Centre of Manitoba

SIKLAB National and affiliates:
SIKLAB – Ontario
SIKLAB – Quebec

Philippine Canada Task Force on Human Rights and affiliates:
BC Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (BCCHRP)
PCTFHR - -Ontario
PCTFHR – Quebec

Filipino Canadian Youth Alliance (PCYA) – National and affiliates:
PCYA – Montreal
PCYA – Ontario
KM- Montreal
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Sunday, March 1, 2009

CNN's GPS: Al Qaeda, Taliban and Women

Good discussion in Fareed Zakaria's GPS re whether we should go to war to defend women... sigh... they always miss the point: military solutions are never the answer; empowering women is.

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Saturday, February 28, 2009

GABNet LA: FREE Political Fashion Art Show

In Commemoration of International Women's Day

Honoring Women Defenders
A FREE Political Fashion Art Show with Special Performances
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Pre-Show: 4:30pm
Show Starts: 5:00pm
Eagle Rock Plaza, Center Court: 2700 Colorado Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90041

Join GABRIELA Network Los Angeles of the Mariposa Alliance as we commemorate International Working Women's Day by holding an event that will celebrate the brave and courageous journeys made by Women Defenders of human rights. We invite all peace loving, justice seeking and militant women to join us as we combine performance art and fashion with various women's organizations to proclaim our latest fashion statement: "Free Our Sisters, Free Our Selves!"

This March 14, 2009, we honor the journeys that Women Defenders have taken around the world and in our own local areas. We honor the road they have taken in advancing the rights and liberation of women and peoples everywhere. Though the rate of violence against women is most rampant; and though there is the highest rate of modern day slavery, especially of women, ever in history, Women Defenders have not given up. From Nepal to Venezuela to Kenya to the United States, women defenders have been organizing, demanding their rights, and fighting for countless others.

GABRIELA Network Los Angeles invites you to join us in this celebration of successes, of women who are true sheroes for their heroic acts of courage, compassion, and commitment. We celebrate women defenders past, present, and future who have never ceased to step up, stand up and perch high!

============ ========= ========= ========= ========

February 23, 2009
Amanda Martin, Gabnet LA Coordinator
losangeles@gabnet. org
Tel: 510-502-6522


On Saturday, March 14th, Gabriela Network Los Angeles of the Mariposa Alliance will host "A Mile in Her Shoes: Honoring Women Defenders." The political art and fashion show will highlight the lives of women who defend women's and human rights, honor everyday sheroes in our communities, and comment on the plight of women and children today.

"A Mile in Her Shoes: Honoring Women Defenders" is the 6th of annual political fashion shows Gabnet Los Angeles has hosted; each year, different issues women face are addressed, ranging from sex trafficking, to workers' rights, to domestic violence. This year, as the global economy sinks deeper into crisis, political repression concurrently rises. Women who struggle to survive through poverty and marginalization turn to political activism as a vehicle to change their realities, and they are punished for their resistance. Gabnet and its community partners – women's, community, youth, labor, and non-profit groups - will honor the brave women who defend their rights and their people's rights.

Please join Gabnet and its partners at "A Mile in Her Shoes: Honoring Women Defenders." Admission is free, and all justice-loving people are invited to join us. A silent auction of all fashion show pieces will follow. Photo opportunities will be available.


Date: Saturday, March 14th

Time: Pre-Show 4:30pm; Show 5:00pm

Location: Eagle Rock Plaza, Center Court; 2700 Colorado Blvd., Los Angeles, 90041


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Politics of the Plate: The Price of Tomatoes

If you have eaten a tomato this winter, chances are very good that it was picked by a person who lives in virtual slavery.

March 2009, Driving from Naples, Florida, the nation’s second-wealthiest metropolitan area, to Immokalee takes less than an hour on a straight road. You pass houses that sell for an average of $1.4 million, shopping malls anchored by Tiffany’s and Saks Fifth Avenue, manicured golf courses. Eventually, gated communities with names like Monaco Beach Club and Imperial Golf Estates give way to modest ranches, and the highway shrivels from six lanes to two. Through the scruffy palmettos, you glimpse flat, sandy tomato fields shimmering in the broiling sun. Rounding a long curve, you enter Immokalee. The heart of town is a nine-block grid of dusty, potholed streets lined by boarded-up bars and bodegas, peeling shacks, and sagging, mildew-streaked house trailers. Mongrel dogs snooze in the shade, scrawny chickens peck in yards. Just off the main drag, vultures squabble over roadkill. Immokalee’s population is 70 percent Latino. Per capita income is only $8,500 a year. One third of the families in this city of nearly 25,000 live below the poverty line. Over one third of the children drop out before graduating from high school.

Immokalee is the tomato capital of the United States. Between December and May, as much as 90 percent of the fresh domestic tomatoes we eat come from south Florida, and Immokalee is home to one of the area’s largest communities of farmworkers. According to Douglas Molloy, the chief assistant U.S. attorney based in Fort Myers, Immokalee has another claim to fame: It is “ground zero for modern slavery.” Read the rest of Politics of the Plate. >>Read more

Facts on Abortion & Contraception

1.94 Million Unintended Pregnancies And 810,000 Abortions Are Prevented Each Year By Publicly Funded Family Planning Services

February 24, 2009: Six in 10 Clients Consider a Family Planning Center Their Main Source of Health Care. $4 Saved for Every $1 Invested; Expanding Medicaid Services to More Low-Income Women Would More Than Pay for Itself

By providing millions of young and low-income women access to voluntary contraceptive services, the national family planning program prevents 1.94 million unintended pregnancies, including almost 400,000 teen pregnancies, each year. These pregnancies would result in 860,000 unintended births, 810,000 abortions and 270,000 miscarriages, according to a new Guttmacher Institute report.

Absent publicly funded family planning services, the U.S. abortion rate would be nearly two-thirds higher than it currently is, and nearly twice as high among poor women.

Publicly funded family planning services are highly cost-effective. More than nine in 10 women receiving them would be eligible for Medicaid-funded prenatal, delivery and postpartum care services if they became pregnant. Avoiding the significant costs associated with these unintended births saves taxpayers $4 for every $1 spent on family planning.

“The national family planning program is smart government at its best,” says Rachel Benson Gold, the study’s lead author. “Publicly funded family planning is basic health care that empowers disadvantaged women to decide for themselves when to become pregnant and how many children to have. It reduces recourse to abortion. And it saves significant amounts of taxpayer money.”

More than nine million women received publicly funded contraceptive services in 2006. Most (7.2 million) received their care from the national network of family planning centers. Another two million women received Medicaid-funded family planning care from private doctors. Six in 10 women who get care at a family planning center, including three out of four who are poor, consider the center to be their usual source of health care, according to the report.

“Many low-income women get their basic health care for the year during an annual visit to a family planning center,” says Gold. “The package of services they receive not only includes contraceptive counseling and the provision of a contraceptive method. It also includes pelvic and breast exams, tests for HIV and other STIs, screenings for reproductive cancers, high blood pressure and diabetes, and referrals to other health providers when necessary. This is essential, preventive health care for disadvantaged women.”

Public expenditures for family planning in 2006 totaled $1.85 billion, with 71% of those funds coming from the joint federal-state Medicaid program. The role of Medicaid in funding family planning has risen dramatically since the 1980s. The increase was driven by efforts in 21 states to expand eligibility specifically for family planning for low-income women who otherwise would not qualify for Medicaid.

“States as varied as Texas, New York, South Carolina and Missouri have decided to undergo the cumbersome and time-consuming process to seek federal permission, known as a waiver, to expand family planning services to more women who need them,” says Gold. “It’s a popular policy because it helps women while saving public dollars. It more than pays for itself.”

The report recommends that Congress eliminate the waiver requirement. Instead, states should be allowed to use the same income criteria to determine eligibility for family planning under Medicaid that they use to determine eligibility for pregnancy-related care.

“Cutting through the red tape and doing away with the waiver is a crucial first step that should be a high priority for policymakers,” says Gold. “Our report recommends other policy changes to help the national family planning program maintain and increase its effectiveness. These include increased funding for the federal Title X program, which provides critical support to the national family planning provider infrastructure. Policymakers also need to take a more comprehensive look at how Medicaid and Title X can best complement and strengthen each other.”
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4th most illegal migrants in US from RP

Filipinos make up the fourth largest group of unauthorized migrants in the United States as of January 2008, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said in a report released Tuesday.

MANILA, Philippines -- Filipinos make up the fourth largest group of unauthorized migrants in the United States as of January 2008, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said in a report released Tuesday.

Of the 11.6 million unauthorized migrants believed to still be in the US, the DHS said Mexicans comprised the most, with 7.03 million.

After Mexico came El Salvador (570,000), Guatemala (430,000), the Philippines and Honduras (300,000), Korea (240,000), China (220,000), Brazil (180,000), Ecuador (170,000), and India (160,000).

“The ten leading countries of origin represented 83 percent of the unauthorized immigrant population for 2008,” the report said.

North America, including Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America, accounted for 8.8 million of 11.6 million unauthorized migrants in the US until last year. Asia follows with 1.2 million, and South America with 850,000.

The DHS also tracked where most of these illegal migrants are, with California hosting the most, with 2.85 million.

By Veronica Uy, Posted date: February 24, 2009. Read more at
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As we commemorate the enduring legacy of the global women’s movement this 2009 International Women’s Day, GABNet of the Mariposa Alliance calls for the laying down of a New Women’s Agenda attuned to the tactical needs of our time and the strategic requirements for full liberation for womankind. LAY DOWN THE NEW WOMEN’S AGENDA FOR FULL WOMEN’S LIBERATION!

February 27, 2009
Jollene Levid, GABNet Secretary-General
secgen@gabnet. org
Tel: 323-356-4748

BAY AREA, CA: As we commemorate the enduring legacy of the global women’s movement this 2009 International Women’s Day, GABNet of the Mariposa Alliance calls for the laying down of a New Women’s Agenda attuned to the tactical needs of our time and the strategic requirements for full liberation for womankind.

In this era of impending profound social transformation, when class society faces crisis upon crisis, and imperialism itself is reeling from the very catastrophe it has wrought upon the world, GABNet, in consonance with the cooperating organizations of the MARIPOSA ALLIANCE, calls for the coming together of all the disparate elements and forces of the women’s movement.

The changing demographics of our societies make this imperative. We are witnessing the rise of transnational women and their communities, with their own special cluster of issues. Women and men of two passports, of two cultures, of two or more languages and who are bi-racial are slowly becoming the majority population in the US. Indeed, within less than a decade, the US will become bi-lingual.

And because we are women of action, GABNet is spearheading the start of this discourse, with the founding congress of the Mariposa Alliance this Fall, in the Bay Area, California, with a gathering of individual women and representatives of women’s organizations to launch a higher level of cooperation among women of diverse origins and backgrounds.

We have reasons to celebrate the past year: the passage of the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act which recognizes gender discrimination as a continuum, the defeat of Proposition K for the legalization of prostitution, the extension of the International Marriage Brokers Regulatory Act (IMBRA), the impending passage of the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights in New York, the full surge of women’s participation in the last elections that wrote finish to the Bush/GOP administration, the rise of women’s voices the world over activism over a great range of issues, from reproductive rights to right to historical signification.

GABNet of the Mariposa Alliance can boast of two decades of consistent work for the emancipation of women of Philippine ancestry. Among its accomplishments for the past year alone are:
  • Holding four national meetings of GABNet membership and leadership;
  • Organizing ten school-based committees working on the Purple Rose Campaign Against the Traffic of Filipinas;
  • Engaging, on a national basis, on daily activities to commemorate 16 Days of Activism on Violence against Women;
  • Launching a mini-campaign on a Divorce Bill for the Philippines;
  • Holding a Los Angeles to San Diego Caravan Against the Trafficking of Women;
  • Holding a concert against the Trafficking and Violence against Women;
  • Organizing a rally of women in Los Angeles on International Women’s Day which earned the support of the West Hollywood City Council;
  • Organizing women’s delegations to all anti-war marches;
  • Organizing new GABNet high school units;
  • Holding a Feminist Valentine Dinner in commemoration of the Purple Rose Anniversary;
  • Initiating and deepening the organizing committee for the Mariposa Alliance.
In addition to this, all GABNet members participated in theory-building sessions and educational activities to enhance their understanding of women’s oppression and social activism.

This rich and long-standing experience in work for the liberation of women of Philippine ancestry is the solid foundational basis of the Mariposa Alliance, a coalition of individual women and women’s organizations in formation.

We have reasons as well to be upset: the same-sex marriage ban in California which deprived thousands of a basic human right, the emphasis on male-dominated industries in the stimulus package passed by Congress, the huge gender-gap in political and economic leadership which continues the pervasive masculinist rule in class society that women should be “responsible but with no power; accountable but with no authority;” the continuing redaction of women’s social and political roles to being place-holders of power for others, their political work deemed of no historic value, the continued violence against women which rests on the denial of their right to historical significance, and the patriarchal surge that enables their transformation into commodity under imperialist globalization.

It is time. Machismo is so obsolete; authoritarianism is passé and women considering their collective interests as secondary went out with whalebone girdle. The need for a new women’s agenda grows greater each passing day, the imperative for coming together more urgent. Let us begin lest we be left again holding the bucket – and an empty one at that -- as women have been in the past. The Future begins Today.

To the Bay, this Fall, to lay down the New Women’s Agenda!
Liberate women, liberate all!
Free ourselves, free our sisters!
End war and all violence against women!
Dismantle gender-based oppression and exploitation!
Equality in Unity, Justice in Strength!

-- ###
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Access Denied

Countless women are sexually assaulted as they attempt to immigrate into the United States. What happens to their reproductive rights when they wind up in U.S. custody?

When sexual-assault counselor Elia Alvarado first met Maria in 2007, Maria was wearing a blue prison uniform, sitting in a doctor’s office at the Port Isabel Detention Center. She was in her early 30s, but looked haggard, Alvarado recalls, older than her age. Two months and more than 1,500 miles after leaving Honduras, she had been detained at the border and taken to the immigration holding facility north of Brownsville.

Maria, a single mother, had left her 8-year-old daughter at home, she told Alvarado, and paid a man to take her to the border. Her ultimate destination, she said, was the Northeast, where a friend had promised to find her work as a housekeeper. “I went to send money home for my daughter,” she told Alvarado in a subsequent counseling session. “This was how I planned to support my family.”

Maria and several other Hondurans were guided on a journey by car and train, she said. At night, they stayed in ramshackle homes, sleeping on crowded floors. One of those nights, just before she reached the border, she said that a man grabbed her near an abandoned shack where the immigrants were staying. He forced himself on her, leaving Maria defenseless, the only witness to the violent act. Afterward, Maria blamed herself. She wondered if this was what she deserved for leaving her daughter. Read on at By Kevin Sieff | February 20, 2009 | The Texas Observer. >>Read more

Monday, February 16, 2009

2 US sailors charged with prostitute's murder, attempted murder of another in Mexico

Feb. 11, 2009, AP: Two U.S. sailors have been charged with the murder of a prostitute and the attempted murder of another in this northern border city, Mexican state prosecutors said.

Witnesses and a hotel camera place the two men at the same hotel where a 19-year-old prostitute was smothered to death on Jan. 17, the prosecutors said Tuesday.

On Feb. 4, prosecutors say, police found the men in a bloodstained hotel room with a prostitute and a hotel employee, both of whom had suffered stab wounds.

The sailors were taken into custody and charged with attempted murder. Authorities say they later found evidence linking them to the January killing.

A U.S. Navy statement on Wednesday said that Jarrett Monzingo and Joshua Dockery, active-duty petty officers assigned to the San Diego area, face murder and attempted-murder charges in the death of a Mexican citizen and are being held at La Mesa Prison in Tijuana.

The statement did not elaborate on the alleged crime but said that the Navy has hired Mexican lawyers to represent the petty officers. >>Read more

UN surprised at female role in 'modern slavery'

Surprisingly, the perpetrators behind human trafficking around the world are often women, the U.N. reported Thursday.

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Surprisingly, the perpetrators behind human trafficking around the world are often women, the U.N. reported Thursday.

Women are the majority of traffickers in almost a third of the 155 nations the U.N. surveyed. They accounted for more than 60 percent of the human trafficking convictions in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

For many, human trafficking is a world they had been pulled into themselves.

"Women commit crimes against women, and in many cases the victims become the perpetrators," Antonio Maria Costa, director of the Vienna-based U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime, said in an interview. "They become the matrons of the business and they make money. It's like a drug addiction."

Most of the world's nations reported some form of "modern slavery" last year involving mainly the sex trade or forced labor.

And the number of victims should grow as the global financial crisis deepens, Costa said.

The report by Costa's office was based largely on human trafficking convictions reported to the U.N. between September 2007 and July 2008. About 22,500 victims were rescued during that time. About four of every five reported cases involved sexual exploitation; most of the rest involved forced labor.

But Costa's agency gave no overall figures for how many millions of people might be affected. He said most countries' conviction rates for human trafficking rarely exceed 1.5 per 100,000 people.

Two of every five countries covered in the report had not recorded a single conviction from 2007 to 2008.

"Either these countries are blind to the problem or they are ill-equipped to deal with it," Costa said.

"We only see the monster's tail," he said. "How many hundreds of thousands of victims are slaving away in sweatshops, fields, mines, factories, or trapped in domestic servitude? Their numbers will surely swell as the economic crisis deepens the pool of potential victims."

The report's release coincided with the appointment Thursday of Academy Award-winning actress Mira Sorvino as a U.N. goodwill ambassador to help Costa's office fight human trafficking.

"Until a few years ago, I blissfully believed that slavery was a thing of the past. ... Well, obviously I was terribly wrong," said Sorvino, a mother with two young children.

"If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong," she said, repeating a famous statement by Abraham Lincoln, whose 200th birthday was celebrated Thursday.

The report also pointed out that women and girls suffer most from sexual abuse. About 20 percent of victims globally were children, mainly in Southeast Asia's Mekong region and parts of Africa.

Costa, who serves as the U.N.'s chief crime fighter, said it's difficult to get nations to address human trafficking because "it's at the crossroads" of other complex occurrences such as human migration and prostitution.

Sixty-three percent of the nations in the report had adopted some laws against human trafficking. The U.N. said most did so only after its protocol against human trafficking entered into force in December 2003.

U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime at
UN surprised at female role in 'modern slavery', The Associated Press, February 12, 2009, via International Herald Tribune at
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