FiRE-GABRIELA USA Presents Theater Production on Filipina Labor Trafficking Survivors

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Reference: Jennine Ventura, Chairperson, Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment, fire.nyc@gmail.com

FiREGABRIELA USA Presents Theater Production on Filipina Labor Trafficking Survivors

May 6, 2013

New York, NY – Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE)-GABRIELA USA is proud to announce its original theatre production, Diwang Pinay (Spirit of the Filipina), Labanan ang Pang-aapi sa Ating mga Makabagong Bayani (Resist the Enslavement of Our Modern Heroes) opening at the WOW Café Theatre (59-61 East 4th Street, 4th Floor, between Bowery and 2nd Avenue, Manhattan) May 17-19, 2013.  Coming off the success of last December’s Diwang Pinay Sneak Peek, which commemorated the 10-year anniversary of the annual production, this year’s show will tackle the subject of labor trafficking and im/migrant experiences.

Diwang Pinay is a performance based on the true stories of four women who have survived labor trafficking.  Like thousands of other overseas Filipino workers, issues of landlessness, joblessness, contractualization and meager wages forced them to leave the Philippines in order to find work abroad.  Recruited through an employment agency, they signed labor contracts with the promise of the American Dream and an end to their hardships back home only to find themselves commodities in a labor export system and pawns in a labor trafficking scheme, which they struggle against and resist to this day.  This is the story of the women of the Florida 15, a case involving Filipino workers recruited by a Philippine-based employment agency to work in a Florida hotel.

The opening of Diwang Pinay coincides with the May 1st launch of GABRIELA USA’s Campaign to Support Filipino Migrant Workers.  Through the Labor Export Policy of the Philippines, 4,500 Filipinos are leaving the Philippines daily—70% of whom are women—to seek employment opportunities abroad.  Overseas Filipino workers or OFWs are vulnerable to exploitation and many become victims of labor trafficking, forced to take 3-D jobs that are difficult, dirty, and dangerous.  The campaign hopes to uphold and defend worker’s rights for Filipina women, as well as shedding light on the destructive impacts of the Labor Export Policy, which keep Filipino migrant workers apart from their families.

“As a cultural worker and organizer I believe that Diwang Pinay is a direct response to make visible the stories and resilience of migrant workers who, despite government neglect, have and will always come together to protect the rights and welfare of Filipinos abroad,” said Candice Sering, Cultural Director of FiRE and director of  the Diwang Pinay production. “The situation of these four women is a reminder that the struggles and root causes perpetuated by U.S. imperialist policies has forced migrants out of their own countries.  We must put an end to this kind of economic violence oppressing our Filipino people,” says Irma Bajar GABRIELA USA, Vice-Chair of International Relations.  “The first step is through educating the broader community on issues like labor trafficking, and what better way to do so than through the drama and heart of the theater.”

Showtime on May 17th & 18th is 8pm, with a matinee at 3pm on the 19th.  Advance tickets online (www.diwangpinaynyc.brownpapertickets.com) are $20.  Tickets at the door are $25.  Diwang Pinay has been generously supported by a grant from the Citizens Committee For New York City.


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