At least 10 Filipina trafficked in Malaysia and Syria were met by Presiding Judge Ramona A. Gonzalez of La Crosse County Circuit Court, Branch 1 of Wisconsin, USA. She visited the Blas Ople Policy Center and Training Institute last Sept 11, 2012. Judge Ramona is in the Philippines to meet and exchange with members of the judiciary, government agency, academe, and civil society groups on issues of women and children and the promotion of their rights and access to justice. In her introduction Judge Ramona inspired the women by saying “You are my heroes, you stand up for what is right and you are not going away and will not allow to be put down by illegal recruiters. As victims of trafficking and illegal recruitment you have rights which must be protected.”
The women complained that the country’s judicial process is very slow in addressing their cases. Most of them are coming from the provinces and it is very expensive for them to always come to Manila and follow up on their cases. Some of the women from war torn Syria even suffered physical injuries in their attempt to escape. So they have to spend amount for their hospitalization and medication.
For the women who work in Malaysia filing case to owners of employment agency is not easy. And since those accused of crime remain anonymous and their privacy protected they are not exposed to the public that should be made aware of their crimes. Some even continue with their modus operandi of trafficking women and children. The women requested Judge Ramona to represent them on their issues when she meet with government officials.
“I will be honored to share to your government officials what you have informed me and remind them that you deserve and should get justice”, was the response of the judge. She mentioned that in the US they now have a law called Victim’s Bills of Rights that protects the rights of victims. The law is now being adapted by most of the states of the US.