Real Talk

Child Trafficking is a Serious Matter in the Philippines and We Must Act Fast

  • 1

Although the Philippines met the Tier 1 standards when it comes to child trafficking, there is still a lot of work to be done.

In its 2022 report, the US State Department reported that when it comes to the elimination of human trafficking in the Philippines, the country has met Tier 1. This means we have complied with the minimum standards. But the report also showed that there is still a lot of work to be done in prosecuting and locking perpetrators of child trafficking in the Philippines.

Disturbing Human Trafficking Profile

According to the report, trafficking in the Philippines both exploits domestic and international people. Women and children from rural areas are the most vulnerable.

“Traffickers exploit women and children from rural communities, conflict- and disaster-affected areas, and impoverished urban centers in sex trafficking, forced domestic work, forced begging, and other forms of forced labor in tourist destinations and urban areas around the country. And traffickers exploit men in forced labor in the agricultural, construction, fishing, and maritime industries. Sometimes through debt-based coercion,” the US State Department wrote.

In one of the studies cited, around 50,000 Filipino children work as domestic workers with 5,000 younger than 15 years old. Some of the children even work in hazardous conditions and places such as mines, factories, and farms.

Another big concern from the report is the continuing rise of sex tourism. Boracay, Angeles City, Olongapo, Puerto Galera, and Surigao are places where there is a demand for such acts.

Although child sex trafficking in commercial establishments declined, the report notes that it still remains a pervasive problem in some urban areas.

Child Trafficking in the Philippines
Photo by RODNAE Productions

Rising cases of sex tourism and child exploitation

“Many sex tourists in the Philippines are convicted or charged sex offenders or pedophiles in their home countries. These are most commonly citizens of Australia, Japan, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States, with an increasing number of reports from Canada, Morocco, Iraq, and Denmark,” the report shared.

It also notes that the Philippines has become a haven for online child exploitation. The sad part is that most of the perpetrators are parents or relatives.

“The traffickers are often parents or close relatives who operate in private residences or small cyber cafes. And many child victims, girls and boys, are younger than 12 years,” the report cited.

Moreover, the report highlighted an alarming increase in unconfirmed online child abuse because of the pandemic.

“Economic impacts of the pandemic, combined with an increased amount of time children spent at home, resulted in an increasing number of families forcing their children into online sexual exploitation. “

Child Trafficking in the Philippines
Photo by RODNAE Productions

Enforce the law

While the country has several laws such as RA 11930 known as the Punishment of Online Sexual Abuse of Children, enforcing it can be challenging. The US State Report recommends the country in strengthening the local government’s capacity. Most especially for debriefing those traumatized by the experience. It urges more support for the government and NGOs to provide special care for those victimized, too.

Aside from the assistance, it recommends more resources for law enforcement units to investigate trafficking. This, as well as “implement the coordinated interagency response to providing services to returning Filipinos exploited in sex and labor trafficking overseas.”

It is also highly recommended that a database be created for information on perpetrators of child exploitation. Because this will help in investigating and prosecuting traffickers.

Children have often been said as the future of mankind. But if they are exploited and abused, they won’t have a future at all. It’s time that perpetrators are punished and that justice be served to the victims of exploitation.

Read more about the fight against women and children’s exploitation:

Child Trafficking: What Happens To These Kids After?

Finding Ruby is Every Parents’ Nightmare for their Daughters

The Disturbing Reality of Online Sexual Exploitation

Order your Modern Parenting magazine's print copy:
Download this month's Modern Parenting magazine digital copy from:
Subscribe via [email protected]