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The Philippines

Trafficking
150,000 Filipina women have been trafficked into prostitution in Japan. (Press
Statement, Bangladesh National Women Lawyers Association, "Open sale of
little girls at Tanbaza brothel," Daily Star, 2 July 1998)

150 Filipinas were sold into prostitution to night club operators in African
countries, particularly Nigeria. The women were bought for $5,000 each by
international syndicates. Four Filipinas were rescued by the Philippine
Embassy in Lagos, Nigeria after they sought help from officials. (Bureau of
Immigration, Lira S. Dalagin, "150 Pinays sold as sex slaves in Africa," Manila
Chronicle, 31 May 1995)

In 1991, Filipinas were being sold in Japan, often to the Yakuza, at $2,400 to
$18,000 each. (CATW - Asia Pacific, Trafficking in Women and Prostitution in
the Asia Pacific)

In 1996, 492 of 3,776 reported cases of child abuse involved pornography,


prostitution, paedophilia and trafficking. There were 8,335 cases of child abuse
from 1991-1996, 96% of the victims were females. (Department of Social
Welfare and Development, "375,000 Filipino Women & Kids Are Into
Prostitution," Philippine Daily Inquirer, 26 July 1997)

Philippine women are vulnerable to trafficking due to the Asian economic


crisis. Requests for entertainer visas for Japan did not decline in the first six
months of 1998. Travel to Japan increased 21% in the first half of this year
compared with the same period in 1997. The label "entertainer" sometimes
implies "sex worker." The women are vulnerable in Japan, not because they
lack skills, but because they are young, beautiful women in a hazardous or
vulnerable occupation. Trafficking laws exists but are not enforced. (Supalak
Ganjanakhundee, "Migrant workers booming as Asian economy declines,"
Kyodo News, 23 September 1998)

Case

Four Chinese women suspected of being prostitutes were arrested by the


Manila Police in a karaoke bar. The club manager however, was not arrested.
One of the arresting officers is accused of raping one of the apprehended
women. These arrests brought the number to 23 Chinese women found to be
working as prostitutes in Manila clubs alone. (Dona Z. Pazzibugan, "4 More
Chinese Girsl Arrested in Karaoke Bars," Phillippine Daily Inquirer, 29 August
1997)

Policy and Law

The Philippine government emphasis on labor export to support its balance of


payment deficits has contributed to the trafficking of Filipinas to Japan. 3/4 of
the trafficked Filipino women surveyed by IOM were repatriated to the
Philippines after being help in prostitution, suffering from various health
problems. (IOM, "Filipino Women in Japan Trapped in the Sex Business,"
IOM, No. 792, 11 July 1997)

Official Response and Action

In 1995, the national government in Manila appointed a special prosecutor,


Dorentino Floresta. In his first year, 181 people were prosecuted for sexually
exploiting children. In 1996, 162 people were charged. Prior to that, trafficking
in children went unchallenged by local officials. (Edward A. Gargan, "Traffic
in children in Brisk (Legacy of the Navy?)," Olongapo Journal/ New York
Times, 11 December 1997)

Bride Trafficking
There have been 5,000 Filipina mail order brides entering the United States
every year since 1986, a total of 55,000 as of 1997. (Gabriela, Statistics and the
State of the Philippines, 24 July 1997)

There are 20,000 Filipina mail order brides in Australia. (Gabriela, Statistics
and the State of the Philippines, 24 July 1997)

Prostitution
The number of prostituted persons in the Philippines is about the size of the
country's manufacturing workforce, according to Rene Ofreneo, a former
Philippine labor undersecretary and an expert on the sex trade. (Dario Agnote,
"Sex trade key part of S.E. Asian economies, study says," Kyodo News, 18
August 1998)

There are 400,000 to 500,000 prostituted persons in the Philippines. Prostituted


persons are mainly adult women, but there are also male, transvestite and child
prostitutes, both girls and boys. (International Labor Organization. Dario
Agnote, "Sex trade key part of S.E. Asian economies, study says," Kyodo
News, 18 August 1998)

In the Philippines, a recent study showed there are about 75,000 children, who
were forced into prostitution due to poverty. (Dario Agnote, "Sex trade key part
of S.E. Asian economies, study says," Kyodo News, 18 August 1998)

There are 400,000 women in prostitution in 1998, excluding unregistered,


seasonal prostitutes, overseas entertainers and victims of external trafficking.
One fourth of them are children and each year 3,266 more children are forced
into the sex industry. (GABRIELA, Diana Mendoza, "RP Has 400,000
Prostitutes," TODAY, 25 February 1998)

There are 375,000 women and children in prostitution in the Philippines. Most
of them, aged 15 - 20, are from semi-rural and urban backgrounds and have
been victims of incest and sexual abuse. ("375,000 Filipino Women and Kids
Are Into Prostitution," Philippine Daily Inquirer, 26 July 1997)

There are 300,000 women and children in prostitution in the Philippines.


(Gabriela, Statistics and the State of the Philippines, 24 July 1997)

There are more than 60,000 children in prostitution. (Welfare officials


estimates, Abby Tan, "Sex Case Focuses Concern On Domestic Paedophilia,"
21 March 1997)

40,000 Filipino children were involved in child prostitution. (Philippine


Foreign Ministry, Jill Serjeant, "Asia to launch joint crackdown on child sex
trade," Reuters, 1 April 1998)

There are reports of people prostituting for food or water. (CATW - Asia
Pacific, Trafficking in Women and Prostitution in the Asia Pacific)

Most of the men buying prostitutes in Pasay City are taxi drivers, laborers,
businessmen, foreigners and male teenagers’ eager to lose their virginity. (Joel
San Juan, "Poverty still behind world’s oldest profession," TODAY, 26 July
1998)

In Cebu, the number of registered prostitutes increased from 1,557 in 1992, to


2,189 in June 1994, to 2.988 in June 1996. This number does not include the
estimated 1.500 non-registered prostitutes. (Gabriela, Statistics and the State of
the Philippines, 24 July 1997)
In Cebu City, the number of registered prostitutes rose from 1,500 in 1993 to
4,500 in 1997. In Davao City in 1993, there were 80 prostitution
establishments, by 1997 there were 135, which increased the number of
registered prostitutes by 2,000 and the number of unregistered by 2,000.
(GABRIELA, Diana Mendoza, "RP Has 400,000 Prostitutes," TODAY, 25
February 1998)

In Davao, there were 868 prostitutes in 1993 and 1,525 in the first half of 1996.
(Gabriela, Statistics and the State of the Philippines, 24 July 1997)

Of 500 prostitutes in Angeles City, 75% are children. (Sol. F. Juvida,


"Philippines - Children: Scourge of Child Prostitution," IPS, 12 October 1997)

The Philippines is fourth among 9 nations with the most children in


prostitution, with 60,000 - 100,000. The top five areas for child prostitution and
sex tourism are Metro Manila, Angeles City, Puerto Galera in Mindoro
Province, Davao and Cebu(UNICEF and non-governmental organizations, Sol.
F. Juvida, "Philippines - Children: Scourge of Child Prostitution," IPS, 12
October 1997)

40,000 Filipino children are in prostitution. (Philippines Foreign Minister,


Domingo Siazon, Robin Cook, "Clampdown on child sex tourism," BBC News
UK, 4 April 1998)

75% of the estimated 500 prostitutes in the "Area," a ghetto known for child
prostitution in Angeles City are children. (Susan Pineda, of Pro-Women
Action, "Scourge of Child Prostitution," Sol. F. Juvida, InterPress Service, 12
October 1997)

Filipinos are the main users of Filipinas in prostitution. (Women's Education,


Development, Productivity and Research Organisation, "Scourge of Child
Prostitution," Sol. F. Juvida, InterPress Service, 12 October 1997)

Filipino men who buy prostitutes don't care if she is 15 or 25. ("Scourge of
Child Prostitution," Sol. F. Juvida, InterPress Service, 12 October 1997)

In 1984, there were 7 provinces with child sex rings. Today, they are present in
37 provinces. (UNICEF, Sol. F. Juvida, "Philippines - Children: Scourge of
Child Prostitution," IPS, 12 October 1997)

Children, aged 11 to 15, in prostitution said relatives introduced them to


prostitution, or they were recruited by friends. (Institute for the Protection of
Children, Sol. F. Juvida, "Philippines - Children: Scourge of Child
Prostitution," IPS, 12 October 1997)

The increase in the exploitation of prostituted children is attributed to the fear


of HIV/AIDS. Some people believe children have less risk of having the
disease. The sex trade in chidlren is so well established, because of the influx of
sex tourists and the existence of sex tours catering to Japanese, European and
other Caucasian tourists. (Sol. F. Juvida, "Philippines - Children: Scourge of
Child Prostitution," IPS, 12 October 1997)

Prostitution and sex trafficking are pervasive in the countryside. According to a


study made by various non-governmental organizations led by the Women's
Education, Development, Productivity and Research Organization (WEDPRO),
even remote rural areas are becoming favorite sites for sex traffickers and
prostitution syndicates. Certain areas in Laoag, General Santos City, Negros,
Southern Tagalog provinces, Pinatubo area, and Pagadian, to name a few, have
reported increasing numbers of cases of prostitution, and where prostituted
women are no longer from other provinces, but are local women. ("Ex-
streetwalkers fight VFA: Form advocacy groups in urban centers," The
Philippine Journal, 18 September 1998)

Teen-age girls are being forced into prostitution due to the Asian economic
crisis. In Davao City, the Philippines, there are more than 1,000 prostituted
teen-age girls; customers pay as little as from 50 cents to $2.50. This rise in
prostitution increases the spread of AIDS, especially as contraceptive costs
have gone up with the currency collapse and bankrupt government cuts in
distribution programs.( Tambayan Center for Abused Street Girls, "Asians in
unhealthy crisis Financial woes produce ill effects on depressed region's
poverty-stricken," Washington Times, 25 September 1998)

Prostitution Tourism

The Philippines is one of the favored destinations of paedophile sex tourists


from Europe and the United States. ("Global law to punish sex tourists sought
by Britain and EU," The Indian Express, 21 November 1997

A Philippine Adventure Tour costs $1,645, including round trip airfare, hotel
accommodations and guided tours to the bars where men purchase sex from
prostitutes for as little as US $24. Tour owner and operator Allan Gaynor
promises that customers "never sleep alone on this tour" and recommends that
the customer have sex with a different girl every day "two if you can handle it."
(Demonstrators at Los Angeles International Airport Target Sex Tour to the
Philippines," 18 April 1998)

Men from Australia and Great Britain are primary suspects as perpetrators of
child prostitution in the Philippines. Two of the three-pedophilia cases recently
decided by Philippine courts involved British nationals, although there are
reportedly more Australian suspects. (Philippines News Agency, 2 September
1997)

Many sex establishments in the Philippines are backed by Japanese capital.


(International Labor Organization, Elif Kaban, "UN labour body urges
recognition of sex industry," Reuters, 18 August 1998)

Prostitutuion tourists and the existence of sex tours catering to Japanese,


European and other Caucasian tourists help to keep child prostitution alive in
the Philippines. (End Child Prostitution in Asian Tourism (ECPAT), "Scourge
of Child Prostitution," Sol. F. Juvida, InterPress Service, 12 October 1997)

Whether or not by choice, men on sex tours inevitably buy underage girls.
(New South Wales legislator Meredith Burgmann, "Aussie sex tours still
flourishing," Associated Press, 1 October 1997)

13,000 Australians, second in number to Americans, a year visit Angeles City,


a center of prostitution surrounding the former Clark U.S. Air Force base in the
Philippines. (Cecilia Hofmann, Coalition Against Trafficking in Women - Asia
Pacific, "Aussie sex tours still flourishing," Associated Press, 1 October 1997)

Health and Well-being

Prostituted children remain prisoners of their damaged psyche despite


rehabilitation efforts. The longer a child stays in the sex industry, the harder it
is to overcome the trauma. (Child rights activists, Dr. Norietta Calma of the
Philippine General Hospital’s Child Protection Unit, Sol. F. Juvida,
"Philippines - Children: Scourge of Child Prostitution," IPS, 12 October 1997)

There is "no evidence" that children in prostitution can ever rehabilitate. "Few
children rescued from brothels have been able to begin living anything like a
healthy life again. The wisdom of trying to end the prostitution of children
rather than attempting to assist the victims has been confirmed." (EPCAT
coordinator Ron O’Grady, Sol. F. Juvida, "Philippines - Children: Scourge of
Child Prostitution," IPS, 12 October 1997)
Gonorrhea is the most common STD among children in prostitution. "They
drink water with a bit a TIDE detergent in the belief this would prevent
gonorrhea." (Louie Orpea a street educator, Sol. F. Juvida, "Philippines -
Children: Scourge of Child Prostitution," IPS, 12 October 1997)
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Cases

Sharon, a 13-year-old girl was kidnapped and sold as a virgin for US$30. In a
brothel, she was raped by 8 to 15 men every night, even when she had her
menstrual period or was running a fever, and by the time she escaped with a
customer's help in February 1997, she had 'serviced' more than 1,500 men.
("Scourge of Child Prostitution," Sol. F. Juvida, InterPress Service, 12 October
1997)

Former Congressman Manolet Lavides, promised 30 dollars, for sexual favors,


to four 15 year old girls - enough for a new pair of shoes one of the girls said
she needed. (Sol. F. Juvida, "Philippines - Children: Scourge of Child
Prostitution," IPS, 12 October 1997)

Policy and Law

The tourism program of the government which aims to project the Philippines
as a major tourist destination has increased the number of prostituted women.
As more and more areas of the country are targeted for tourism, more and more
women are driven to prostitution in desperation to ensure their family's
survival. ("Women Evaluate the State of the Nation," GABRIELA, 24 July
1997)

The Philippines is the first Asian country to pass an anti-child abuse law.
(Lawyer Jose Vener Ibarra, Advocacy for Children's Rights, "Scourge of Child
Prostitution," Sol. F. Juvida, InterPress Service, 12 October 1997)

In 1997 the Philippines signed anti-pedophilia cooperation agreements with


Great Britain and Australia. (Philippines News Agency, 2 September 1997)

Government policies favor the export of entertainers and domestic helpers that
put women at risk. (CATW - Asia Pacific, Trafficking in Women and
Prostitution in the Asia Pacific)

The Philippines 2000 development plan has increased violence against Filipino
women. It has not solved the problem of poverty but only worsened
prostitution, violence against migrant women, and increased the vulnerability
of women to violence. ("Women (D)Evaluate the State of the Nation,"
GABRIELA, 24 July 1997)

The Philippines is the first Asian country to pass an Anti-Child Abuse law. 158
cases of child abuse - including sexual exploitation - were filed from 1994 -
1996. Five led to convictions. (Records at the social welfare department,
Lawyer Jose Vener Ibarra of the Advocacy for Children’s Rights, Sol. F.
Juvida, "Philippines - Children: Scourge of Child Prostitution," IPS, 12 October
1997)

Official Response and Action

British police experts gave a training course in Manila for Filipino police
officers on how to deal with child and female victims of abuse. Twenty-one
participants spent four weeks learning the latest methods of investigating cases
of child abuse and domestic violence, dealing with child victims, and searching
and forensic techniques. (British Embassy, AFP, 9 November 1997)

In a month-long campaign against prostitution in July 1998, more than 70


suspected prostitutes, 70 "guest relations officers" working without permits in
various clubs, 4 nude performers and 9 maintainers of "prostitution dens" were
arrested. Most prostitutes were illiterate, from rural areas when "white slavery
syndicates" lured them under false pretenses of decent jobs in Manila, and then
forced them into prostitution. (Pasay City police, Supt. Arturo Cacdac chief of
police, Joel San Juan, "Poverty still behind world’s oldest profession",
TODAY, 26 July 1998)

Although according to law, prostitutes can receive 30 days imprisonment, and


procurers a minimum of six months to six years imprisonment, most are only
fined. (Joel San Juan, "Poverty still behind world’s oldest profession",
TODAY, 26 July 1998)

Many victims of foreign paedophiles say they regret reporting the offense,
because they often see the paedophile post bail or flee the country. (Sol. F.
Juvida, "Philippines - Children: Scourge of Child Prostitution," IPS, 12 October
1997)

A 6-member task force was formed to conduct an investigation into sex


trafficking and prostitution especially for pedophiles in La Union. (Philippines
News Association, 16 January 1998)
Britain and the Philippines are cooperating to stop child sex tourism, through a
pact signed by the two countries in August 1997 that provides for co-operation
between police forces. British police have provided training for Filipino
officers in Manila in identifying and countering child prostitution and
pornography and have run similar courses in Thailand and Sri Lanka. (Jill
Serjeant, "Asia to launch joint crackdown on child sex trade," Reuters, 1 April
1998)

NGO Action

6,000 people peacefully protested the VFA at the Philippine palace gates on
September 16, 1998. The protest coincided with the seventh anniversary of a
Philippine Senate vote in 1991 rejecting the extension of U.S. leases on military
bases in the former American colony. A women's group involved in the protest
was concerned about the social implications of the agreement, saying it would
worsen prostitution. ("Thousands protest U.S.-Philippine military accord,"
Reuters, 16 September 1998)

Protest of the VFA came from the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women-
Asia Pacific (CATW-AP). CATW said that the approval of the VFA "could
aggravate prostitution and will open doors to increased sexual exploitation of
our women and children." Under the proposed agreement, about 10,000 US
military servicemen will have access to 22 docking ports all over the country.
CATW fears the unlimited number of US troops allowed entry and their
indefinite length of stay will result in an increase in the number of prostituted
women and children. Pedophilia, unwanted Amerasian children, and the spread
of sexually transmitted diseases and HIV/AIDS virus are also expected to
increase due to the presence of US troops. Military prostitution, it added, has
always been a problem in the past when the US bases were still in the country.
Past experience clearly showed that the security of the Filipino people,
especially women and children, from the US military was never taken into
account. ("Ex-streetwalkers fight VFA: Form advocacy groups in urban
centers," The Philippine Journal, 18 September 1998)

The International Labor Organization’s call for governments to recognize the


sex industry was protested by Filipino advocacy groups. Groups based in
Angeles City, Olongapo City, Davao and the National Capital region including
Buklod Center, Nagkakaisang Kababaihan in Angeles City, Bukal, and the
Davao-based Lawig made statements at a press conference. Participants
included former prostituted women. Statements include:
• "Legalizing prostitution is not an assurance that violence and other forms
of sexual abuses will not be committed. What it will do is to legalize the
abuses of paying customers since you are now bound by a ‘legal
contract’," explained Pearly Bulawan of the Buklod Center.
• What women engaged in prostitution need, the survivors of prostitution
said, is economic assistance in the form of jobs as well as livelihood
training and educational opportunities. "We cannot accept the term ‘sex
worker’ to describe us."
• "You can never legalize profession or a job if it violates the rights of
women and degrades them," they added. Aida Santos of the Women's
Education, Development Productivity and Research Organization
(WEDPRO) explained that legalizing prostitution will further aggravate
the already serious gender inequality problem experienced by the
women. Prostitution, she said, has to be viewed in the context of
political, economic and social issues on a gender structure and system
that oppress women. "One consistent factor we have observed in the
course of our research and studies on prostitution is men's unchanging
behavior toward women," she revealed, adding that "even now, most
males regard women as inferiors."
• The women are asking for the decriminalization of prostitution and the
formulation of a law that will punish the owners of the prostitution
establishments, recruiters, pimps, traffickers, and the clients.
• They appealed to law enforcers to stop taking advantage of women
during police raids, adding that these men in uniform are also in the habit
of exploiting the women by allowing full-blown media coverage to the
prejudice of the women, at the same time sparing their (male) clientele.

"We need to reorient the people that prostitution is a violation of human rights
and that it's not okay to use or pay women for sex." ("Ex-streetwalkers fight
VFA: Form advocacy groups in urban centers," The Philippine Journal, 18
September 1998)

Case

Philippine courts last year sentenced two Britons to up to 17 years in jail for
paedophilia. (AFP, 9 November 1997)

The mother of a 15-year-old girl was sentenced to 10 years in jail for forcing
her daughter to become an "exotic dancer." (Sol. F. Juvida, "Philippines -
Children: Scourge of Child Prostitution," IPS, 12 October 1997)
Mail-order-brides
Filipina women have been pimped and prostituted by their German and
Australian "husbands." (CATW - Asia Pacific, Trafficking in Women and
Prostitution in the Asia Pacific)

Organized and Institutionalized Sexual Exploitation


and Violence
The ratification of the Visiting Forces Agreement between the Philippines and
the United States will exacerbate ongoing sexual exploitation, particularly of
poor women and children. The presence of US forces in the past led to:
thousands of neglected Amerasian children, women and children sold to
purveyors of sexual exploitation, and the Philippines being referred to as the
"sex paradise" of Asia. Despite this, President Estrada pushes for the
ratification of the VFA. (Aida Santos project director of Philippine Network
Against Trafficking in Women)

The number of prostituted women and children are predicted to increase when
the government opens 22 ports to the United States for joint military exercises
under Republic of Philippines and United States Visiting Forces Agreement.
(GABRIELA, Diana Mendoza, "RP Has 400,000 Prostitutes," TODAY, 25
February 1998)

For many decades, a huge prostitution system was organized and regulated to
service US military stationed in several bases. (CATW - Asia Pacific,
Trafficking in Women and Prostitution in the Asia Pacific)

Entertainment is the main channel of trafficking women and girls, but a range
of establishments from dirt-floor beer houses to karaoke clubs to beach resorts
to expensive health clubs provide prostitution for men of every social class. An
enormous infrastructure of prostitution had been established by the presence of
US military bases for the 'rest and recreation’ system especially during and
since the Vietnam War. (CATW - Asia Pacific, Trafficking in Women and
Prostitution in the Asia Pacific)

There are about 50,000 Filipino Amerasians in the Philippines, fathered by


American service men. They have remained underprivileged and targets of the
flesh trade because of their looks. (Luisitio Lopez, President and Founder,
Filipino - American Movement for Amerasians Services (Famas), Jojo Due,
"Government Pressure Needed for Amerasians" TODAY, 15 November 1997)

"Comfort Women"

Historians estimate there were between 80,000 and 200,000 comfort women
during World War II. Of these many were from the Korean peninsula, China,
Indonesia, Malaysia, the Netherlands, and the Philippines. ("Comfort women
protest texts," UPI, 2 May 1997)

More than half of the 169 comfort women survivors in the Philippines were
below age 20 when kidnapped by the now-defunct Japanese Imperial Army
troops. ("Comfort women protest texts," UPI, 2 May 1997)

Australian and American men have taken "temporary wives" during their stay
in the Phillippines, to abandon the women and any children afterwards.
(CATW - Asia Pacific, Trafficking in Women and Prostitution in the Asia
Pacific)

Official Corruption & Collaboration

Many police officers and government officials have sexually assaulted or


exploited girls in the Philippines. Congressman Romeo Jalosjos raped a 12-
year-old girl. Binan Mayor Bayani Alonte was accused of raping a 16-year-old
girl. Former Quezon Representative Manolet Lavides was involved in the
prostituting of 4 high school students of Novaliches High School. Angeles City
Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan was involved in the cases of a 16-year-old model
being prostituted by a talent manager, Jojo Veloso. 5 policemen in San Fabian,
Panagasinan were accused of raping an 11-year-old girl inside police barracks.
4 policemen on duty were implicated in the rape of a 17-year-old girl inside the
police station in Luneta. SPO2 Roel Waga, police investigator in Bgy. Puerto,
Cagayan City was involved in the sexual harassment of a 13-year-old girl.
(Gabriela, Statistics and the State of the Philippines, 24 July 1997)