is illegal, although somewhat tolerated, with law enforcement being rare with regards to sex workers. Penalties range up tolife imprisonmentfor those involved intrafficking, which is covered by theAnti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003.Prostitutionis often available through bars,karaoke bars(also known as KTVs),massage parlorsbrothels(also known as

The Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality Study conducted in 2002 by theUniversity of the PhilippinesPopulation Institute and Demographic Research and Development Foundation found that 19% of young males had paid for sex and 11% had received payment for sexual favors.3

In 2013, it was estimated that there were up to 500,000 prostitutes in thePhilippines,4from a population of roughly 97.5 million. Citing a 2005 study, SenatorPia S. Cayetanoasserted in her Anti-Prostitution Act (Senate Bill No. 2341 s.2010), that the number of people being exploited in prostitution in the Philippines could be as high as 800,000.56The bill was reintroduced in 2013 as Senate Bill No. 3382,7and in 2015 as Senate Bill No. 2621.8

Prostitutioncaters to local customers and foreigners. Media attention tends to focus on those areas catering tosex tourism, primarily through bars staffed bybargirls. Cities where there is a high incidence of prostitution areOlongapo CityAngeles CityLegazpi CityinAlbayPasay CityandSubic BayinZambales,9with the customers usually foreign businessmen fromEast AsianandWesternnations.1011

Prostitution in Olongapo City and Angeles City was highly prominent during the time of the U.S. military inSubic Bay Naval BaseandClark Air Base, respectively.1213WhenMount Pinatubo, a volcano, erupted in 1991, it destroyed most of Clark Air Base and the United States closed it down in1992.

Some of the associated prostitution trade closed with it, but when the mayor ofManilaAlfredo Lim, closed down the sex industry area ofErmitain Manila during his first term starting in 1992, many of the businesses moved to Angeles, finding a new customer base among sex tourists.14

Other tourist areas such asCebuhave also developed a high-profile prostitution industry.

There is no one single reason for the widespread prevalence of prostitution in the Philippines. Poverty is but one reason, as cultural factors and the attitude of people toward money and the social acceptance of prostitution play a major role.2

Per the Philippine Statistics Authority, in 2015 the Philippines had a poverty incidence of 26.3%.15While this figure has been decreasing over the past few years,15this still is one of the reasons why girls and their families turn to prostitution to enable the family to maintain a certain level of lifestyle.16A large number of girls who come toAngelestend to be provincial, especially fromSamarLeyteandVisayas, having seen their friends live a better life because of their job in the prostitution industry.1718

Prostitution started around Clark Air Base in Angeles City since the early 1960s, when the base assumed importance because of the Vietnam war. During the 1970s, the main street of Olongapo City had no less than 30 girlie bars catering to the wants of U.S. Navy troops visitingSubic Naval base. The city acquired the pseudonym Sin City.

The American authorities supported the testing of the prostitutes for STIs by the local health authorities. Without the licenses issued with these examinations, the prostitutes were prevented from working. Angeles City and Olongapo health authorities passed on photographs of sex workers who had failed STI tests to the U.S. bases.19

The closure of the U.S. bases in these two places did not change the scenario much it only changed the clientele. Fields Avenue near Clark (Angeles) continued to grow as a center of the sex tourism industry, under the umbrella ofentertainmentandhospitality industry. The girlie bars at Olongapo were closed down in a major drive by the then governor Jane Gordon;they merely shifted, however, to the neighbouring town of Barrio Baretto which contains a series of at least 40 bars which act as prostitution centers.20

Some women join the prostitution industry after theybecome single unwed mothers.21The reasons for this vary unpopularity of artificial contraception in the Philippines,22inadequatesex education, delays in implementingbirth control legislationand amachismoattitude among many Filipino males. More than half of the children born every year in Philippines areillegitimate, andthe percentage of illegitimate childrenis rising at the rate of nearly 2% annually.23242526

Women and children involved inprostitutionare vulnerable torapemurder, andAIDSas well as othersexually transmitted diseases.27

Surveys of women working as masseuses indicated that 34 percent of them explained their choice of work as necessary to support poor parents, 8% to support siblings, and 28% to support husbands or boyfriends.28More than 20% said the job was well paid, but only 2% said it was easy work, and only 2% claimed to enjoy the work.28

Over a third reported that they had been subject to violence or harassment, most commonly from the police, but also from city officials and gangsters.28

According to a survey conducted by theInternational Labour Organization, prostitution is one of the most alienating forms of labor.28Over 50% of the women surveyed in Philippine massage parlors said they carried out their work with a heavy heart, and 20% said they were conscience-stricken because they still considered sex with customers a sin.28Interviews with Philippine bar girls revealed that more than half of them felt nothing when they had sex with a client, and the remainder said the transactions saddened them.28

The Philippines is a source country and, to a lesser extent, a destination and transit country for women and children subjected tosex trafficking. Sex trafficking and prostitution are not one in the same, because often prostitution is a voluntary decision, but prostitutes can be subjected to sex trafficking against their will. An estimated 10 million Filipinos reside or work abroad and the government processes approximately 2.3 million new or renewed contracts for Filipinos to work overseas each year. A significant number of these migrant workers are subjected to sex trafficking, particularly in theMiddle EastandAsia, but also in all other regions. Traffickers, typically in partnership with local networks and facilitators, engage in illegal recruitment practices that leave migrant workers vulnerable to trafficking, such as charging excessive fees, producing fraudulent travel and contract documents, and confiscating identity documents. Illegal recruiters use student, intern, exchange program, and tourist visas, as well as travel through other countries to circumvent the Philippine government and destination countries legal frameworks for foreign workers. Traffickers also recruit Filipinos already working overseas through fraudulent offers of employment in another country.29

Sex trafficking of 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. Persons displaced due to the conflict inMindanao, Filipinos returning from bordering countries without documents, and internally displaced persons in typhoon-affected communities are vulnerable to sex trafficking in MetroManila, MetroCebu, central and northernLuzon, and urban areas inMindanao. Sex trafficking also occurs in tourist destinations, such asBoracayAngeles CityOlongapoPuerto Galera, andSurigao, where there is a high demand for commercial sex acts. Although the availability ofchild sex traffickingvictims in commercial establishments declined in some urban areas, child sex trafficking remains a pervasive problem, typically abetted by taxi drivers who have knowledge of clandestine locations. In addition, young Filipino girls and boys are increasingly induced to perform sex acts for live internet broadcast to paying foreigners in other countries; this typically occurs in private residences or small internet cafes, and may be facilitated by victims family members and neighbors. NGOs report high numbers ofchild sex touristsin the Philippines, many of whom are citizens ofAustraliaJapan, theUnited StatesCanada, 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.29

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. Reports in previous years asserted police conduct indiscriminate or fake raids on commercial sex establishments to extort money from managers, clients, and victims.29

Theranks the Philippines as aTier 1country.29

Republic Act No. 9208 (Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003). Chan Robles Virtual Law Library. 26 May 2003

McEvoy, Mary.Gender Issues in the Informal Sector: A Philippine Case Study.

2002 Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality Study

(Report). date=July 23, 2003. Archived fromthe original

Number of prostitutes in the Philippines. September 23, 2013. Archived fromthe originalon 2013-11-16.

Privilege speech on prostitution. Official website of Senator Pia S. Cayetano. September 26, 2011.

Senate Bill No. 2341: ANTI-PROSTITUTION ACT OF 2010. Senate of the Philippines. August 3, 2010.

Senate Bill No. 3382: ANTI-PROSTITUTION ACT. Senate of the Philippines. January 14, 2013.

Senate Bill No. 2621: ANTI-PROSTITUTION ACT OF 2015. Senate of the Philippines. February 2, 2015.

Prostitution and sex tourism – About Philippines.

Parwel, Tezza (June 27, 1987). The Victimless Crime, (27). National Midweek II.

The Sex Sector: The Economic and Social Bases of Prostitution in Southeast Asia

. International Labour Organization.ISBN

Lauber, Sabina (1995).Confronting Sexual Exploitation.

Australian Law Reform Commission Reform Bulletin

. Winter 1995 (67). Archived fromthe originalon 2012-07-19

Poverty incidence among Filipinos registered at 26.3%, as of first semester of 2015 – PSA Philippine Statistics Authority.

. Philippine Statistics Authority – National Statistical Coordination Board. Archived fromthe originalon 2 April 2018

. feminism and Womens studies, Campaign against military prostitution. Archived fromthe originalon 22 July 2007

organization which campaigned against foreign military bases.)

Hays, Jeffrey (June 2015).PROSTITUTION IN THE PHILIPPINES Facts and Details.

Raymond, Janice G. Sex Trafficking is Not Sex Work (Spring 2005). Conscience XXVI:1.

Man and Woman He Created Them: A Theology of the Body

The Last Country in the World Where Divorce Is Illegal

The fight to make divorce legal in the Philippines., CNN, 6 October 2014.

Stephanie Hepburn and Rita J. Simon, 2007,Womens Roles and Statuses the World Over, pp51.

Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP): There is no need for divorce in PH, Inquirer News, 27 March 2015.

Dennis A. Ahlburg, Eric R. Jensen and Aurora E. Perez,

, Health Transition Review, Supplement to Volume 7, 1997, 467-479

Sex industry assuming massive proportions in Southeast Asia(Press release). International Labour Organization. 19 August 1998.

Philippines 2018 Trafficking in Persons Report.

This article incorporates text from this source, which is in thepublic domain.

The Misnomer Sex Work and the Elusive Rights of Sex Workers under Philippine Laws, 2018 covers the laws and their enforcement

article on a Filipino-American prostitutes daughter

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