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Filipino sisters break cycle of trafficking

Filipino missionary sisters have told New Orleans Catholics how their work helps break the cycle of prostitution.

Filipino sisters break cycle of trafficking

February 22, 2011

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Immaculate Mary Queen of Heaven Missionaries from the Philippines have told New Orleans Catholics how their work helps break the cycle of prostitution and human trafficking. “We try to become friends to (the prostitutes) so they open up to us,” explained Sister Irene Baquiran, a founder member of the order. Founded in Cebu in 1996 by Sister Corazon Salazar, the order now has eight professed nuns, 11 with temporary vows and three novices, CNA reports. Their charism – “We are the extension of the heart and hands of the good shepherd looking for the lost sheep” – is lived not only by rescuing women and children victims of prostitution off the streets but also by breaking the cycle of poverty, the root cause of prostitution. Sister Irene said the Philippines ranks fourth of the top 10 countries with prostituted children, so the need to rescue victims is great. The prostitutes range in age from 15-20, but some are as young as 8 years old. They are forced into five to 10 sexual encounters nightly (at a wage of 100 pesos or $2 for each encounter). Most are drugged by their pimps to endure the horror and so are also hooked on narcotics. “We found out that evil in society is so cunning,” she said. The sisters converted their residence in Cebu into the Home of Love, also called the MQHM Rehabilitation and Livelihood Training Center. Currently, 20 victims of human trafficking who desire to change their lives are living with them. “There are so many young girls who are calling us for help,” she said, “but there is nowhere for them to go. At the center, we give them unlimited love and unlimited help.” The sisters, who worked with now-retired cardinal from the Archdiocese of Cebu, Philippines, Ricardo J. Cardinal Vidal, take vows of poverty, chastity, obedience, total surrender and endless sacrifice. They also wear a pink habit selected because it is the “color of the joy, the love and compassion of God the Shepherd that we share with victims of prostitution”. “We are trying to share the love of Christ,” concluded Sister Irene. SOURCE Filipino sisters seek to rescue women from sex trade (Catholic News Agency) LINK AND PHOTO Immaculate Mary Queen of Heaven Missionaries
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