Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Anti-Bases Coalition Mulled

Anti-bases coalition mulled
Tuesday, 22 September 2009 00:00
By Zita Taitano
Marianas Variety News Staff

HAGÅTÑA — The 7th Meeting of the International Network of Women Against Militarism has concluded with a plan to form a regional coalition that will actively oppose the “militarization” of Micronesia.

Therese Terlaje, one of the resource speakers at the conference which ended Friday, said participants will gather all information and draft a solidarity statement explaining their position that the presence of the military is not conducive to the region.

Terlaje said the soon-to-be-formed coalition, which will be spearheaded by women activists from the Philippines, will include members from Guam, the CNMI, Palau, Japan, and Australia.

During Friday’s session, panelists and participants expressed concern about the Department of Navy’s memo that bans sex offenders from living within the military bases.

Terlaje said the issue was first brought up during a public education forum in 2008 by military planners. “They said we will no allow sexual offenders on the base even if they come from the military (or) as military dependents,” she said.

“They are not allowed to live on the base and that is how they pretty much left the problem and that means we have to figure out that if they’re outside the base obviously, that’s our problem. That’s all we know so far,” Terlaje said.

Also discussed last Friday was “human trafficking and prostitution.”

Annie Fukushima of the University of California at Berkeley told the stories of women promised a better life only to be tricked into becoming sex slaves.

Among them was a woman who claimed that a man she met told her she could come to the U.S. where she would be able to find work. The woman would end up in Hawaii and then a few months later on the U.S. mainland as a sex slave.

Sue Gilbey of Adelaide Australia touched on legal brothels in Australia, where sex workers are even unionized. Despite the legality of the flesh business, yet there have been reports of illegal human trafficking in Australia.

“One thing about these though is it provides a front like trafficking and it’s making it more difficult to identify [victims],” Gilbey said, noting that the organized crime is prevalent in South East Asia, eastern Europe Korea and India.

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