Vivian’s story

Vivian Alvarez (a.k.a. Vivian Solon or Vivian Wilson) has been the subject of several news reports here for several days now. Based on reports from Australian and Filipino newspapers online, she may now be a household name in both countries (if she hasn’t already).

To those who aren’t familiar with her story yet, she is believed to have lived in Brisbane for several years, have 2 sons and is an Australian citizen. One day in February 2001, she left her (now 9 year old) son in a day care center and failed to return to pick him up. She was reported missing soon after that. Several months later, she had a car accident and was treated in a New South Wales(NSW) hospital. She was deported to the Philippines in 2001 after telling the consular staff in Brisbane that she had been a sex slave and no records pertaining to her residency status was found (she gave her mother’s maiden name/her middle name as her surname).

The government realised its mistake a few months ago and launched a search for her in the Philippines. Luckily, the search ended when an Australian priest based in the Philippines, Father Mike Duffin, alerted Canberra after recognising a photo of her on TV. Vivian has now reunited with her sister, bringing her lost years to an end.

Australian officials are in damage control mode, with Foreign Minister Alexander Downer defending the Immigration department amid criticisms. This comes on the heels of the much publicized case of Cornelia Rau’s wrongful detention. An inquiry is now being called to investigate what really happened in both cases.

Vivian’s story raises a lot of questions that need to be answered. If she claimed to be a sex slave, why was she deported? Shouldn’t there be an investigation to such allegations before any deportation procedures were even put into motion? How did the system lose track of her and how many more have slipped through the cracks? Would there be another Cornelia or Vivian in the news in the future? I hope the government digs deep to find all the answers to these questions and more if they want the confidence of the public restored.

Published in: on May 13, 2005 at 12:23 pm  Leave a Comment