The sex industry is growing in the Philippines. According to UNICEF; the United Nations Children’s Fund states that 1.8 million children are held in sexual slavery worldwide and about 100,000 of those are minors. Over 60,000 children are being used for sex in the Philippines. Some children in the sex industry are as young as 11-14 years of age.
Sex clubs proudly advertise local permits and licenses to operate and that the girls are free from sexually transmitted diseases. The sex clubs proudly admit that they have health workers come in and check out the girls, the health workers do not seem concerned for the well being of the girls though. Young women in the sex industry are exposed to physical and psychological harm. These sex deals are underground operations and are disguised as massage parlors, dance clubs and hotels. There are about 1.2 million young single men who travel to the Philippines each year, it is impossible to say how many of those men buy sex services since it is illegal.
It is illegal to sexually abuse children, but it is almost impossible to bring perpetrators to justice. There is corruption in the private sector too, envelopmental journalism for example is when local media and journalist are paid off to to cover the issue by politicians and other famous people with a large sum of money stuffed in brown envelopes.
The relevance of child abuse in the sex industry cannot be overestimated. It is important to understand that the lines between adult and child prostitution is not clear. Many adult hookers were forced into the business at young ages and held as slaves, it doesn’t matter whether she is over 21 or younger than 18. Women who become prostitutes in the Philippines have a very slim chance to rejoin society and have families of their own; prostitutes who become pregnant are forced to have abortions at illegal clinics. There are signs of hope though, last year an anti-child-pornography law was passed and anyone with child porn will be prosecuted.
Title: The Curse of Sex Tourism
Publication Source: Third World Resurgence, June-July 2010
Author: Father Shay Cullen
Faculty Evaluator: Leny Strobel, Sonoma State University
Student Researcher: Danielle Ritenour