AboutCampaignsFact BookResourcesCalendarDonateContactHome  
The Factbook on Global Sexual Exploitation
  About the Factbook
  Contents
      Asia
      Europe
      Oceania
      Africa
      Middle East
      Central America
          & the Caribbean
      South America
      North America
About the Factbook
The Factbook on Global Sexual Exploitation was compiled from media, non-governmental organization and government reports. It is an initial effort to collect facts, statistics and known cases on global sexual exploitation. Information is organized into four categories:
  - Trafficking,
  - Prostitution,
  - Pornography, and
  - Organized and Institutionalized
    Sexual Exploitation
    and Violence.

Sources were not contacted to verify information. Close examination will reveal that there are contradictions in information depending on the sources of information (ex: how many women are in prostitution in Thailand). All statistics are reported with no attempt to evaluate which numbers are more likely to be accurate. In fact, the exact numbers in many cases are not known and estimates come from different sources which use different methods to determine what they report.

We hope these facts will assist people to recognize the harm caused throughout the world by sexual violence and exploitation and catalyze action against this violence agianst women.

This project was made possible with the support of the College of Arts and Sciences, University of Rhode Island and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD), Norway.

If you use this information in your work, please reference this factbook-- The Factbook on Global Sexual Exploitation, Donna M. Hughes, Laura Joy Sporcic, Nadine Z. Mendelsohn, Vanessa Chirgwin, Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, 1999.


Recognized by Independent Charities of America

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) [catwlog9710c]

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)



AboutCampaignsCalendarResourcesFact BookContact