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Cashing in on live carcass (PJI editorial 11 April 2005)

SOME years back, a deskman colleague of ours personally led the police raiding team to retrieve a comely lass recruited from his hometown and mired deep into the dark bowels of an urban prostitution den. The girl was found. Grieving parents and once-lost lass met in an all-too brief and bitter reunion.

She refused to go back to her hometown. In tears, she told her parents that she would regularly send them money. The work she was mired in gave better pay than the back-wrenching laundry work she and her mother did to augment their family’s paltry income.

She was still young then; her nubile body can still take the wear and tear of her job for maybe five years, so she reasoned. In shock and sad acquiescence to their daughter’s wishes, the tearful parents left.

Our deskman was aghast at such awful turn of events.

The slave turned up deeply grateful to her slaver-panderer. The chopped up carcass is thankful to its butcher-meat monger.

A similar scene unreeled sometime this year. A gaggle of girls from a Southern Tagalog town were rueful that authorities put a stop to the lucrative business of a benefactor who made them pose in the raw and go through the motions of sex before computer cameras. It was an easy, no-sweat job that paid a few thousands of pesos per session-- no hymen ever got ripped beyond repair, nobody got even a symptom of sexually transmitted pestilence.

Nobody got really laid. They got handsomely paid.

Last month, the same scene unreeled in Las PiƱas. Another batch of comely girls in their teens were sore at authorities for stanching cash flow derived from displaying fleshy curves and downy orifices before paying perverts and voyeurs worldwide.

A recent study even confirmed our fears. Prostitution in the Philippines has turned into a multi-million dollar industry and is now the fourth largest source of gross national product. We take no pride in that peddling of live carcass to earn mounds of cash.

Whether digging ditches, hewing wood, drawing water or such, work entails plying out a measure of skills and competence to generate added value that celebrates, validates human dignity.

Work enables the worker. Too, work ennobles.

Call us cheap prudes. We believe meaningful value-added activity isn’t meant to glorify Mammon and GNP.

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