Posted: March 15, 2022, 6:35 a.m.
Last update: March 15, 2022, 6:41 a.m.
A young mother faces indictment in the Philippines for a heinous crime linked to online cockfighting betting, locally known as e-sabong. She gave up her young baby for less than $1,000 to settle a gambling debt.
The e-sabong has become extremely popular in the Philippines. In-person cockfighting, sabong, has always had its place, but COVID-19 has ushered in an era that has enabled online sabong betting. The activity has received renewed importance in recent times as a result. It’s also in the news as more than 30 people linked to the matches have mysteriously disappeared without a trace.
There are calls for the sabong to be closed. Now those calls will grow louder after a mother sells her baby to cover her e-sabong debt.
Pay his debts with blood
Media Global PhilStar reports that an unidentified woman from the Pinagbuhatan district of the city of Pasig needed to escape her e-sabong gambling debt. The only alternative the 22-year-old thought she had was to abandon her eight-month-old baby girl.
She reportedly pledged her daughter last week, canceling the debt. She even signed documents with the transfer to make it more legit.
In most cases, desperate attempts to get out of underlying gambling debt involve tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. Not in this case. The frustrated and desperate mother gave up her child for PHP 45,000, or about $858.
She apparently had second thoughts after pawning her still breastfeeding child. She tried to contact the broker on Facebook, but ran into a brick wall. As a result, the mother subsequently appeared in an interview with a media Pasig news today where she asked for help to retrieve the baby.
This interview put her in the spotlight and her calls went viral on social media. This also led the police to decide to step in and investigate the illegal transaction.
Human trafficking and child abuse
The PNP’s Center for the Protection of Women and Children is helping with the case, in hopes of canceling the sale. However, even if this is successful, the mother may still have to answer for her actions. She could face charges of child abuse, illegal child adoption and human trafficking, and could still lose her baby girl.
Illegal adoptions are still a problem in the Philippines. Channel News Asia made a presentation in 2020, highlighting the problem and demonstrating how widespread it is. In some cases, mothers are willing to sell their babies for as little as around PHP 10,500 (USD 200).
Babies who are sometimes trafficked for adoption are sometimes an exception to this rule because they can end up in a loving home. Often, however, they find themselves raised for a specific exploitative purpose, for example, to work on the family farm or in the family business,says the UN’s International Labor Organization.
Most of these people live in rural, remote and poor areas, where a family of four lives on $2 a day. They don’t know what they are doing is illegal. Even if they did, they feel that the money received will be more beneficial than another mouth to feed.
Generally speaking, human trafficking in the Philippines remains a problem. Although the Philippines has become more involved in eradicating the problem, it is thriving.
The non-profit organization Destiny Rescue claims that between 60,000 and 100,000 children are trafficked each year. Among them, most are between 14 and 17 years old and many become sex slaves.