Somewhere between 60,000 and 100,000 children are trafficked (internationally and locally) and exploited for commercial sex in the Philippines, according to a report from the organization ECPAT Philippines from 2006. Research shows that the majority consists of girls aged 14-17 from the poorest parts of the country.
The people who buy them for sex are foreigners as well as local Filipinos. Military personnel and police officers are said to be ‘regular customers and usually non-paying’. The same report cites a research conducted among taxi drivers in the Philippine tourist destination of Cebu. All of the surveyed taxi drivers had encountered foreigners accompanied by Filipino minors.
Long path from enslavement to freedom
These children are not just losing their freedom, integrity, dignity, risking their life and health, because of reckless exploiters. They are also missing out on their childhood. With the Round Home in the Philippines, the human rights NGO Love146 works to restore these children and help them take their childhood back.
When sexually-exploited children are rescued, typically in brothel raids conducted by local police, they are first brought to a temporary government owned shelter. Shortly after, the children are referred to a place where they can heal and recover, so they eventually can return to a normal life. One such place is the Round Home, made especially for girls, who have survived enslavement and sexual exploitation.
“At that point they've only been physically freed and we know that there is a mental, an emotional, a spiritual freedom that needs to take place for them to start walking towards restoration and recovery,” says Ryan Day, Communications Strategist at Love146’s headquarters in Connecticut, US, to gbtimes.
Read the full interview on gbtimes.com