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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 5, 2014
Reference: Valerie Francisco, Chairperson, GABRIELA-USA, gabrielawomen@gmail.com

Filipina Women Resist and Fight for the Rights and Welfare of Migrant Women Workers

On the 104th Anniversary of the International Working Women’s Day on March 8th, GABRIELA USA, a Filipino women’s alliance that consists of member organizations in Washington DC, New York, San Francisco, Seattle and Los Angeles, will be joining working class and im/migrant women across the United States to demand livable wage jobs, an end to labor trafficking, and justice for Super Typhoon Yolanda victims amidst the global economic crisis caused by imperialist globalization.

Almost four months since Typhoon Yolanda, President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III’s administration continues to neglect the needs of the victims, failing to deliver relief goods and basic social needs to women and their families such as adequate housing, comprehensive health services, potable water, and electricity. The government is also using the disaster as an excuse to further intensify militarization of Eastern Visayas deploying thousands of military troops all over the region. “We are outraged and demand President Noynoy to give immediate attention to rebuild and rehabilitate communities. We say NO to another pork barrel scandal keeping relief funds from reaching the people and NO to land grabbing and militarization!” says Tina Shauf, Campaigns Officer of GABRIELA USA.

With the help of puppet governments, imperialist policies like the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Trans Pacific Partnership allow multi-national corporations to extract and exploit natural resources in an unregulated manner, causing environmental pollution and degradation, and leaving the people unable to survive in their home countries. “There is nothing free about about these ‘free’ trade agreements. Migrants are paying the cost by being forced out of their homeland, separated from their families and subjected to abuse and exploitation,” says Irma Bajar, International Relations Officer of GABRIELA USA.

GABRIELA Washington DC consists mostly of members who are survivors of human trafficking. These trafficked teachers are victims of fraud, and have experienced exploitation and abuse. They were deployed to the US by a Philippines-based recruitment agency only to find that the teaching jobs they were promised were non-existent. Many of the teachers are now filing a human trafficking case against their recruiter, who has been serving time in jail since November 2013 for his crimes against several hundreds of teachers. “It is painful to think that I’m a victim of human trafficking because I lost my self-esteem and dignity. I joined GABRIELA, Washington DC, because of the need to educate people about trafficking and to unite with other survivors to fight for our rights and for justice,” states Fen Ecleo, Co-Chairperson of GABRIELA DC.

Migrants from Latin America, Asia and throughout the world regularly remit money back to their families in their home countries and yet experience unfair wages and wage theft, while the cost of living is only increasing. The majority of domestic workers in the United States are foreign-born and about half of workers are paid an hourly wage below the level needed to adequately support a family. Labor laws throughout the United States still do not include requirements for employers to treat migrant workers with dignity and respect, including rights to fair and overtime pay for hours worked.

In celebrating 5 years of Filipino women’s militancy in advancing the rights and welfare of women and children in the United States, as an international chapter of GABRIELA Philippines, join GABRIELA USA in launching a national campaign on March 17 to expose the realities of human trafficking and demand justice for trafficked teachers.

We are Women Workers, We are NOT Slaves!

Stop Imperialist Exploitation & Modern Day Slavery of Migrant Workers!

STOP Forced Migration of Our People! End the Labor Export Policy!

Justice for Migrant Women Workers and their families!

JUSTICE for YOLANDA VICTIMS!

Join us on March 8th, International Working Women’s Day in the city near you!

Los Angeles
March 6, 2014, 5-8PM
People’s State of the City 2014
One Billion Rising performance during program
Church One
E. 70th Street, Long Beach, CA 90805
March 8, 2014, 2pm
Women Against Repression & Occupation
Rock, Rap & Speakout vs Poverty, Prisons & War
MacArthur Park at Wilshire Blvd (between Alvarado & Parkview) Los Angeles, CA 90057

New York City
March 8, 2014, 12-5pm
12 Noon Speak Out/Rally at Triangle Shirtwaist Fire Factory Memorial
23-29 Washington Place (Between Greene St. & Washington Square East)
1 PM March to 147 West 24th St. New York, NY
2PM-5PM Celebration and Speak Out with Food and Refreshments

San Francisco
March 8, 2014 (12-3pm)
National Domestic Workers Alliance presents Dignity in Action: International Women’s Day Celebration
GABRIELA SF Bangon flashmob @ 1pm
Yerba Buena Ally Way @ Minna & 5th Street (beneath SF Chronicle building)
San Francisco, CA
March 19, 2014 (6-9pm)
Commemoration of Flor Contemplacion Day
Migrante Northern California’s Dinner and Film Night
Location TBA

Seattle
March 8, 2014 11AM
International Women’s Day Musical Brigade – “Bring the Noise! Sound the Resilience!”
Gather at Prat Park (20th Ave. S & Yesler)
March to Hing Hay Park (Maynard & King St)

Washington, D.C.
March 17th
Justice for Trafficked Teachers Campaign Washington DC Launch
Press Conference to Expose Trafficked Teachers Case Against Recruiter
Location TBA

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