Real Talk

Finding Ruby is Every Parents’ Nightmare for their Daughters

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Finding Ruby focuses on the true story of a girl who innocently tries to find work only to find herself in an online sex-trafficking den.

Despite online sex trafficking being frowned upon, it’s still so common in the Philippines. In most cases, prostitutes exist to support their families in a system that constantly fails them. But there are many other cases where innocent girls are forced into sex slavery. This is the story of Ruby, who leaves the protection of her rural village, only to find out she was lied to.

“It was an offer too good to be true.”

The podcast, Finding Ruby, reveals much about the nature of these traffickers. Many of these traffickers often play kind employers. They are willing to pay good wages, the trip to the area, and even lodging. “It’s a pretty good deal” — exactly what Ruby thought as she engaged the one who offered her the job. For someone who had just lost her “layers of protection”, someone randomly offering her a job was a “spark of recognition”.

However, that immediately turned into a horrific nightmare. The woman she spoke with wasn’t there. Instead, it was a man who drove her through several streets throughout Pampanga before revealing the true nature of the job: online sexual exploitation.

A Horrifying Ideal for Someone at 16

At 16, girls often have their sweet 16 birthdays, go out with friends, and study for the college entrance exams. But Ruby didn’t have that. For the next weeks and months, she poured her efforts into escaping. She had to fight this nightmare with many other half-naked girls standing with her. Finding her voice again in a place that rid her of it is no fairytale either.

This nightmare must never become a reality for any parent

It’s a disturbing reality but one nonetheless. Listening to the Finding Ruby podcast will open three paths for you. Either we teach our kids how to avoid predators like them by equipping them with the skills they need to differentiate scammers from real people, turn a blind eye, or find ways to make sure another Ruby isn’t sacrificed to sex traffickers. The podcast Finding Ruby is one of the IJM’s first steps to making sure another case doesn’t happen like that again and is currently available on Google, Apple Podcast, and Spotify.

But one of the ways we can help prevent another case of Ruby is through working together with the International Justice Mission with their fieldwork. They’re currently opening their schedules to promote awareness about it in church gatherings and universities. But for those who want a more active approach, they’re also looking for volunteers who they will be providing skills-based training so that we can promote awareness too.

If there’s a particular way you want to get involved, you can check their websites where they also offer multiple options on how to promote awareness of online sexual exploitation.

More about online sex trafficking and its disturbing realities:

The New Anti-Online Sexual Abuse or Exploitation (OSAEC) Law is Signed! Here’s What We Know
Sexual Assault Awareness Month: Building Safe Online Spaces Together
New PH Law: Age of Sexual Consent Now 16 As Signed by Duterte