Filipino boxing champion fights sex slavery

Lawmaker Manny Pacquiao declares war on ‘white slavery’

Filipino boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao is facing what could be his toughest fight yet that goes beyond 12 rounds, as he declared war on sex slavery in the Philippines.
Pacquiao, who is a congressman in the southern Philippine province of Sarangani, promoted on Friday the encore airing of ‘The Fighters’, a CNN full-length documentary featuring a woman’s fight against sex trafficking in Manila.
He is also featured in the documentary, a result of two years of undercover work in Manila’s red light district, as among the lawmakers who sought a stronger measure against sex slavery.
First shown over CNN International Channel on May 17 and 18, the 80-minute documentary has been made available in full online and will air again on CNN on June 1 and 2.

“Please watch,” Pacquiao said, as quoted by ‘The Philippine Star’, referring to the film that tackles the country’s ‘white slavery’ that, according to government, involves 800,000 people, 100,000 of whom are children and minors. “It is important.”

Leif Coorlim, executive director of CNN Freedom Project that produced the documentary, described as “scary” and “sickening” the crimes involving white slavery and cyber sex in the Philippines. He also said these crimes are difficult for the “law enforcement to stop”.

He stressed, “In a country like the Philippines, nothing ever is as it seems,” Coorlim said in the documentary, referring to an area in Metro Manila’s commercial business district of Makati where many victims of white slavery end up.

It was Cecilia Flores-Oebanda, executive director of Visayan Forum Foundation (VFF), who sought Pacquiao’s help in bringing more attention to the fight against sex trafficking in the Philippines.
The CNN documentary follows Manila’s sex-traffic industry through the life and advocacy of Flores-Oebanda, who is considered a warrior against sex slavery and a heroine to the girls and women she rescues from forced prostitution.

Stressing that the war against sex trade, especially involving minors, could last “beyond 12 rounds”, she said this could be Pacquiao’s “toughest fight that he will wage in his entire life”.


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