In this new PW segment, we give space to individuals who are part of the movement for social change. We ask them the question: Why are they here?
by Loel Naparato
I am here because I seek justice as a victim of human trafficking in 2012 when I applied to teach in Washington D.C., USA.
When Isidro Rodriguez was entrapped and arrested in November 2013 and I found out that he was already detained at Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in Camp Crame, I almost collapsed. I didn’t understand what to do and why it happened to me. He was responsible for so much distress in my family–not realizing our dreams, losing so much money that I paid to him, money that I will never get back again.
After I went to the office of Mr. Rodriguez, the security guards advised me to go to CIDG Camp Crame to file a complaint against him. When I was there, I met many other teachers who were also victimized. We were assisted by police officers up to the Department of Justice. We attended the hearings of the case we filed. While doing so, Migrante International met us and offered to help us. They explained thoroughly what to do and what will happen. So they advised us to file a trafficking case against the recruiter with the help of a lawyer of National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL), Atty. Alnie Foja, and intern law students from La Salle.
Along the way, I met different concerned individuals. I learned the rights of every Filipino, how to fight for my rights, and how to achieve justice.
I know, it is not easy and it is tiring. But as a victim who suffered a lot and someone who is looked up to by my students, I need to be brave and strong. In spite of how I live – teaching without any salary received due to my loans, most of the time just eating noodles for dinner or lunch – I need to keep on fighting. This is for my children.
In working with Migrante International, I felt at ease, safe and secure that soon justice will prevail for all of us trafficked teachers. I’m proud to be part of the Migrante International family.