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Sex Trafficking in the Philippians

Sex Trafficking in the Philippians


Trafficking in women is often presented as a problem in countries outside the Philippines. Philippines have been less visible as a site for transnational and domestic trafficking in women because, for one reason, research on sex trafficking in the Philippines has been limited. In contrast, considerable attention has been focused on sex trafficking in Europe, Canada, Japan, Philippines, Australia and other industrialized nations. Statistical data on trafficking, numbers of women trafficked into the country and estimates advanced by governmental and non-governmental groups (NGOs) are difficult to verify.

The Philippines is atransit, source, and end country for Sex trafficking. The number of victims in the Philippines range from 20,000 to 100,000 therefore this paper discusses Sex Trafficking in the Philippians.


Incidents of trafficking are often reported in isolation from one another. who, what and why of trafficking into the Philippineshas not been evident. This situation is beginning to change. Destination countries, such as the Philippines, are now working together with source countries, to draft regional action plans such as the Asian Regional Initiative Against Trafficking (ARIAT, 2000). The Clinton administration from 1998-2000 initiated an anti-trafficking strategy (Presidential Directive, March 11, 1998) that brought together governmental agencies such as the Departments of State and Justice to coordinate efforts against trafficking. Significant progress was made in implementing a national anti-trafficking action plan that is based on practical strategies involving prevention of trafficking, prosecution of traffickers and protection of victims (ARIAT, Country Plan of the Philippines, 2000).

In March 2000, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) released a much awaited report outlining International Trafficking in Women to the Philippines: A Contemporary Manifestation of Slavery and Organized Crime (Richard, 1999). A great deal remains to be done, however, even in the area of basic research. Cases of trafficking in the Philippinesare mainly reported in newspaper accounts.

Although a number of studies have been undertaken by the International Organization of Migration (IOM) to interview trafficked women in other industrialized countries such as Italy, and in developing countries such as Cambodia (International Organization of Migration, 1996; 1998 respectively), it appears that no one has been able to interview even small numbers of women who have been trafficked into the Philippines. Law enforcement and immigration officials, and some social service providers, have interviewed individual women when they have been arrested in brothel and massage parlor raids. However, there are no research studies on the experiences of victims of trafficking in the Philippines.


Although there is some historical literature on trafficking and prostitution in the context of the Philippines, the intention of this study was to lay the groundwork for the contemporary problem of international trafficking in the Philippines. Prior to 1990, the small body of literature that does exist relates mostly to interstate trafficking and the Mann Act, with one important exception being Kathleen Barry's groundbreaking work Female Sexual Slavery (1979).

However, even Barry's work does not develop the context of trafficking in the ...
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