‘Gently used’ makeup and self-care items can help human trafficking victims

February 5, 2019 - 5:42 PM
Human trafficking victim
A victim of human trafficking who was rescued from a sex den in Quezon City. (HDPRC/File photo)

A non-profit organization composed of beauty enthusiasts is asking for beauty, makeup and self-care items to be donated to survivors of the human trafficking industry for their recovery and healing.

The Foundation Foundation-Philippines, a Christian volunteer group with the objective to empower women who have been abused and sexually exploited, announced that they are accepting new and slightly used cosmetics and self-care products.

These include “gently-used” makeup not older than six months, personal care items like shampoos, soaps and lotions and sanitary products.

While they accept slightly used items, the organization does not accept opened liquid eye and lip products. Otherwise, it must be new so that it can be utilized properly.

In a separate post, the organization explained that they believe “simple tools such as makeup can go a long way in helping people feel beautiful.”

“We strive to empower people, especially victims of rape, trafficking, abuse, and poverty by emphasizing the importance of self-care and self-love through providing them daily essentials such as makeup, toiletries, and skin care products,” it said.

The Foundation Foundation-Philippines is a group that was inspired by an organization based in Canada with the same name that started in 2014.

Its advocacy is for women to help other women who have been victimized by circumstances and help them heal through self-care.

The power of makeup 

The act of putting on makeup and improving one’s appearance is considered empowering among women, based on a study by a marketing research center and a beauty brand.

The research cites that 84 percent of women find beauty empowering. Another 69 percent claim they wear nail polish for themselves while a different 49 percent says having a manicure gives them confidence.

“Most women just love the expressive nature and self-care qualities of makeup on their own terms,” explained an online women’s magazine as it cited the study.

Makeup helps women feel empowered as it improves their appearances. (The STAR/Maine Manalansan)

Mally Roncal, a makeup artist and the founder of makeup company Mally Beauty, notes that using makeup is a means for women to “take pride” in their appearances and make them feel confident.

“Makeup empowers a woman to present herself in exactly the way she chooses. She is the one deciding, which contributes to her self-esteem. When you put on makeup, you’re saying, ‘Here I am. I took three minutes today for myself because, you know what, I deserve it,'” she said.

Human trafficking in the Philippines

The Foundation Foundation-Philippines cited in its Facebook page a 2017 Human Rights Report by the US State Department’s Human Rights which states that 400,000 women are estimated to be trafficked within the Philippines annually.

While human trafficking is illegal under the law through the “Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012,” it continues to be a problem wherein women and even children are illegally recruited into the tourist industry for sexual exploitation.

This was cited by a 2018 Trafficking in Persons Report of the US State Department’s Human Rights, where it noted that the Philippines continues to participate in the illegal act, particularly in terms of hiring overseas workers.

“An estimated 10 million Filipinos reside or work abroad and the government processes approximately 2.3 million new or renewed contracts for Filipinos to work overseas each year. A significant number of these migrant workers are subjected to sex and labor trafficking—predominantly via debt bondage,” the report said.

Areas that are widely involved in the illegal trade are Metro Manila, Metro Cebu, Central and Northern Luzon and urban areas in Mindanao. It is also practiced in tourist destinations such as Boracay, Angeles City, Olongapo, Puerto Galera and Surigao.