Trafficking reports

From the US State Dept.

As reported over the past five years, the Philippines is a source country and, to a lesser extent, a destination and transit country for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor. An estimated 10 million Filipinos work abroad, and a significant number of these migrant workers are subjected to sex and labor trafficking—predominantly via debt bondage—in the fishing, shipping, construction, education, home health care, and agricultural industries, as well as in domestic work, janitorial service, and other hospitality-related jobs, particularly across the Middle East, Asia, and North America. Traffickers, typically in partnership with small local networks, engage in unscrupulous recruitment practices that leave migrant workers vulnerable to trafficking, such as charging excessive fees and confiscating identity documents. Illicit recruiters use student, intern, and exchange program visas to circumvent the Philippine government and destination countries’ regulatory frameworks for foreign workers.

Forced labor and sex trafficking of men, women, and children within the country remains a significant problem. Women and children from indigenous communities and remote areas of the Philippines are the most vulnerable to sex trafficking, and some are vulnerable to domestic servitude and other forms of forced labor. Men are subjected to forced labor and debt bondage in the agricultural, fishing, and maritime industries. Many people from impoverished families and conflict areas in Mindanao, Filipinos returning from abroad without documents, and internally displaced persons in typhoon-affected communities are subjected to domestic servitude, forced begging, forced labor in small factories, and sex trafficking in Metro Manila, Metro Cebu, central and northern Luzon, and urban areas in Mindanao. Trafficking also occurs in tourist destinations, such as Boracay, Angeles City, Olongapo, Puerto Galera, and Surigao, where there is a high demand for commercial sex acts. Child sex trafficking remains a pervasive problem, typically abetted by taxi drivers who have knowledge of clandestine locations. Although the availability of child sex trafficking victims in commercial establishments declined in some urban areas, young Filipino girls, boys, and sibling groups are increasingly coerced to perform sex acts for live internet broadcast to paying foreigners; this typically occurs in private residences or small internet cafes, and may be facilitated by victims’ family members and neighbors. NGOs report high numbers of child sex tourists in the Philippines, many of whom are citizens of Australia, Japan, the United States, Canada, and countries in Europe; Filipino men also purchase commercial sex acts from child trafficking victims. Organized crime syndicates allegedly transport sex trafficking victims from China through the Philippines en route to other countries. The UN reports armed groups operating in the Philippines, including the MILF, New People’s Army, Moro National Liberation Front, the Abu Sayyaf Group, and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, continue to recruit and use children, at times through force, for combat and noncombat roles.

Sex traffickers prey on ‘Yolanda’ children

TACLOBAN CITY – On the bed is where she could end it, she thought. She’s 16, he’s six months old.

Alyssa (not her real name) was sold for sex one night last year. On board a docked ship in Leyte, in a locked room, a Japanese repeatedly raped her. Her pimps paid her P200. She walked away with not a cent, with a baby.

A girl with many dreams, Alyssa is among the thousands of children abused and trafficked in the Philippines each year. Here in Leyte, she’s one among many others, and after Supertyphoon Yolanda, authorities fear there are countless, faceless more.

“There are unverified reports that more minors are now being trafficked, recruited to work in bars, and probably forced into prostitution in the entire region post-Yolanda,” said Asther Dadulla, regional focal person on recovery and reintegration program for trafficked persons of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Eastern Visayas.

Since the deadly typhoon struck November 8 last year, her office has rescued 50 victims of trafficking in disaster areas like Tacloban, Catbalogan, Marabut, Ormoc, Baybay, Palo, and Camotes Islands. Most of the victims are minors. Of the six reported cases, two are in Tacloban.

Dadulla said they have received reports that minors are being recruited to work in bars where they are possibly subjected to forced labor and prostitution. A city official, who requested anonymity, said this is especially so in Tacloban where a number of KTV and videoke bars have aggressively sprung up since Yolanda.

“We have received such reports from citizens. Prostitution is rampant because people have no money. And they need money to build their houses,” the official said. The victims are minors, ages 14 to 16, at times with their very own mothers acting as pimps.

Downtown on Zamora St., right in front of a merchandise store, is where pimps lurk around at night, waiting for a hungry prey. This was the exact place where Alyssa found herself in when she needed money after running away from home before Yolanda struck. Later she was lured to stay with her pimps at a lodge and was sold and abused for months.

But after the disaster, women and girls are now rarely seen in that corner of Zamora St., a fruit vendor who wishes to protect her identity observed. When a local or a foreigner passes by, only the pimps are there.

Ang mga bugaw diyan magtetext lang. Mura lang, minsan bata pa (The pimps simply sends a text. It’s cheap, even if it’s a minor),” she said. The women are paid P700 a night, and girls are paid P1,000. “Tinatanong ang client ano ang gusto nila (They ask the client what they want).”

Having been in Zamora St. for 20 years, she knows for a fact that now more women and children have resorted to sex for money. “Siyempre dumami pagkatapos ng Yolanda kasi walang trabaho. Yung iba wala talagang tulong na natatanggap (Of course after Yolanda many more worked as prostitutes because they have no money. The others have not received any aid),” she said.



From the US State Dept.



Officials, including those in diplomatic missions, law enforcement agencies, and other government entities, allegedly have been complicit in trafficking or allowed traffickers to operate with impunity. Some corrupt officials, particularly those working in immigration, allegedly accept bribes to facilitate illegal departures for overseas workers, reduce trafficking charges, or overlook unscrupulous labor recruiters. Reports in previous years asserted police conduct indiscriminate or fake raids on commercial sex establishments to extort money from managers, clients, and victims. Some personnel working at Philippine embassies reportedly withhold back wages procured for their domestic workers, subject them to domestic servitude, or coerce sexual acts in exchange for government protection services.

MANILA, Philippines – Eighteen-year-old Julie (not her real name) was working in a beerhouse in her hometown of Cebu when an opportunity difficult to ignore presented itself.

Alicia Tongco, who introduced herself as an owner of a talent management agency in Manila, offered to make her an actress and to become her manager. It was an opportunity she couldn’t pass up.

Ignoring her parents’ admonition not to leave, she left for Manila with Tongco . Tita Bing, as Tongco was fondly called by her “talents”, allowed Julie to live in her house for free along with other women.

Everything seemed all right, until Julie was peddled to customers hungry for sex. She was sold 9 times to different men.

600 kilometers away from home, Julie worked not as a movie star as Tita Bing had promised, but as a sex slave.

Hers is a story common in the Philippines and throughout the world. Julie is just one of about 400,000 women trafficked within the Philippines annually, according to the US State Department’s Human Rights Report.

I want to stress that we are addressing the critical needs in education as much as our resources allow us to do so. We support children in public school and we have also started our own home school to fill in the gaps. Children can only enroll in May and also many children are in such bad shape that they cant succeed in the public schools. They need special help. I would also say that we supply the most important thing and that is faith in God through Jesus Christ

Based on the 2017 Trafficking in Persons Report of the US Department of State, a total of 909 cases involving trafficking in persons and illegal recruitment were investigated by the National Bureau of Investigation Anti-Human Trafficking Division (AHTD), Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) and Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) in 2016. Local authorities rescued 2,948 victims and put them under the protection of government agencies. The government also initiated the prosecution of 441 traffickers and secured 55 convictions. Still, more than 1,100 cases are pending in the judicial system.

Most often, women and children fall prey to human traffickers than men.

A recent study of IACAT showed, males usually fall as human trafficking victims in the sea. Frequently, they are duped into working as fishermen, receiving below minimum wages.


Children, on the other hand, are being sold as sexual commodities to foreigners. They are abused for cybersex operations and online prostitutions. Last March 2017, the Aringo sisters were arrested for their cybersex and child pornography operations in Dasmariñas, Cavite. The authorities rescued 13 minors, including a two-month-old baby, who were used in these illegal activities. Perpetrators usually used their own children in their cybersex operations.

Poverty, lack of education, sex tourism and gender inequality are root causes of human trafficking. Lured by promises of high compensation, victims agree to work as slaves or prostitutes. Many victims have been deceived due to lack of education.

What the Philippines need is GHT-CP Philippines, in conjunction with Global Human Trafficking and Child Protection – Information Sharing and Analysis Organization (GHT-CP/ISAO), to help combat human trafficking and child exploitation in the country and in the region.