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Human Trafficking in the Philippines: A

Blemish on Economic Growth

Economic growth in the Philippines is among the highest in Asia, with 5.9 percent in the second
quarter of 2012. Unfortunately though, the bulk of the financial benefits associated with this
growth continue to escape the majority of Filipinos living in poverty. According to the most recent
estimates from The World Bank, 26.5 percent of the Filipino population is living in poverty. This
high rate of economic disparity remains one of the largest factors driving many Filipinos into
human trafficking situations. Despite recent economic advancements, the Philippines continue to
be one of the largest source countries for sex trafficking and forced labor victims around the
Human trafficking is a modern form of slavery, which involves the recruitment, transportation,
transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of threat, use of force or other forms of
coercion, for the purpose of exploitation according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and
Crime. According to the 2013 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report, Filipino human trafficking victims
have been identified in over 37 countries across five continents. Absence of economic
opportunities in the Philippines, gender role socialization, and family dynamics make Filipinos
especially vulnerable to human trafficking crimes. However, reliable statistics on the number of
Filipino human trafficking victims are currently unavailable.
In analyzing the types of human trafficking crimes experienced by Filipino victims, we find that
false financial promises are often used to lure Filipino children, men, and women into dangerous
human trafficking situations in the Philippines and internationally. Within the country, sex tourists
come from Northeast Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America to engage in sexual activity with
children. Child prostitution in the Philippines primarily takes place in five types of places: 1)
casas, a term used to describe brothels; 2) bars with sex shows; 3) restaurants and karaoke
bars; 4) in the streets; and 5) in shopping malls. NGO organizations suggest that there may be
60,000 to 100,000 children forced into prostitution in the Philippines.
The economic disparity between rich and poor in the Philippines also facilitates the opportunity
for men to be trafficked abroad into situations involving forced labor or debt bondage in
factories, at construction sites, on fishing vessels, on agricultural plantations, and in the shipping
industry, according to the 2013 TIP Report. Women are even more likely to befall human
trafficking victimization, which most frequently involves domestic service or sexual slavery. In
recent years, an increasing number of Filipinos are being trafficked to countries in the Middle
East, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait.
Although the gross national income in the Philippines has doubled since 2004, it remains
relatively low compared to other countries, with $2,500 per capita in 2012. Hierarchical
trafficking organizations in and outside the Philippines take advantage of the lack of economic
opportunity within the region. These actors include investors, recruiters, transporters, corrupt
public officials or protectors, informers, guides and crew members, enforcers, supporting
personnel and specialists, debt collectors and moneymovers.
Currently, there are a number of laws and international treaties that attempt to address human
trafficking in the Philippines. For example, the 2003 Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act outlines
penalties for human trafficking that are categorized by the U.S. State Department as being
sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as
rape. However, during 2012 only 227 cases were filed with the Department of Justice for
potential prosecution, which led to a mere 24 convictions of human traffickers in the Philippines,
a decrease from the 29 traffickers convicted during 2011. This data suggests that although the

Philippine government criminally prohibits sex and labor trafficking through its laws, the crime is
rarely successfully prosecuted. Some explanations for this trend of under enforcement include
lack of financial resources, informal case processing, lack of victim cooperation, time lapse
between charge and trial, and lack of jurisdictional familiarity with the new and changing
trafficking laws.
Over time, the Philippines have maintained a ranking of Tier 2 or Tier 2 Watch List on the State
Department scale. This ranking means that although the Philippines have not fully complied with
the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) minimum standards, the country is making
significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance. However, for 2009 and 2010, the country
was on the Tier 2 Watch List. During those years, the U.S. State Department reported that
thenumber of victims of severe forms of trafficking was very significant or significantly
increasing; there was a failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat severe forms
of human trafficking; and/or the determination that the Philippines was making significant efforts
to bring the country into compliance with minimum standards was based on commitments by the
country to take additional future steps over the next year.
The Philippines continues to make improvements to their prosecution of human trafficking cases,
protection of human trafficking victims, and prevention of future human trafficking crimes.
Although the Philippine government only landed 24 convictions of human traffickers in 2012,
they used resources to assist 2,569 victims by providing skills training, shelter, medical services,
financial, and legal assistance. In that same year, at least 223 Filipino children were rescued from
the worst forms of child labor, including sex trafficking. Additionally, pre-employment orientation
seminars provided to Filipino overseas workers may have potentially prevented an unknown
number of international human trafficking victimizations involving Filipino citizens.
Despite the improvements to the rates of human trafficking prosecution, victim protection, and
potential crime prevention, it is important to understand that these statistics are not necessarily
significant or proportional to the countrys economic growth or the amount of money allocated to
combat human trafficking locally. The Office of the President of the Philippines has touted the
Philippine economic growth as outpacing its Southeast Asian Neighbors and far surpassing the
IMF growth forecast of 3.5 percent. However, the rate of poverty in the Philippines has remained
relatively consistent, hovering at or above 25 percent. Furthermore, there is little data to suggest
that the improvements to anti-trafficking efforts are proportional to the allocated resources. For
example, the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) receives over $1 million per year to
implement anti-trafficking laws and policies at the national, regional, and provincial levels. Yet,
these resources netted only 24 human trafficking convictions in 2012.
Ultimately, we know that economic disparity is a driving force toward human trafficking. Given
the recent economic growth in the Philippines, more research is warranted to evaluate the
efficacy and cost effectiveness of anti-trafficking efforts.
Child Prostitution in [Philippines] [other countries]

Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery

In the early years of the 21st Century

Republic of the Philippines

Although the general macroeconomic outlook improved significantly in
recent years, the economy still faces several long term challenges.
The Philippines must maintain the reform momentum in order to catch
up with regional competitors, improve employment opportunities, and
alleviate poverty. The Philippines will need still higher, sustained
growth to make progress in alleviating poverty, given its high
population growth and unequal distribution of income. [The
World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

The Philippines is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for commercial sexual
exploitation and forced labor. A significant number of Filipino men and women who migrate abroad for work are subjected
to conditions of involuntary servitude in Bahrain, Brunei, Canada, Cote dIvoire, Cyprus, Hong Kong, Japan, Kuwait,
Lebanon, Malaysia, Palau, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Taiwan, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates.
Muslim Filipina girls from Mindanao were trafficked to the Middle East by other Muslims. - U.S. State Dept Trafficking in
Persons Report, June, 2009 [full country report]
CAUTION: The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in the Philippines. Some of these
links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false. No attempt has been made to
validate their authenticity or to verify their content.


Trafficking Of Women And Children
Judge Nimfa Cuesta Vilches, ExpertLaw Library, January, 2004
[accessed 16 December 2010]

A girl child in the Philippines is discriminated upon early in life due to culture-based and family
reinforced gender biases. For instance, despite her special nutritional needs in preparation as
future mother and nurturer, the girl child is allotted less food than her father and her brothers.
When money for education is scarce, her brothers are given the preference.
The Filipino girl child takes the stereotyped role of her mother who is portrayed as an abused and
submissive woman relegated to domestic work. Moreover, the public considers girls and women
as sex objects and typifies them as club/bar entertainers, beauty pageant contestants, and racy or
pornographic film stars.
The pejorative expectations that Filipino society has on women and children are compounded by
problems of extreme poverty; massive labor export; globalization; porous borders; aggressive
tourism campaigns; negative portrayal of women by mass media; pornography on-line and internet
chat-rooms; the practice of mail-order brides; inter-country adoption; and joint military exercises in
the country with visiting forces from abroad. These factors cause women to become easy victims
of sex-trafficking and other forms of sexual exploitation either in the Philippines or in countries of
NBI raises alarm on child-organ trafficking
ABS-CBN News Online, 24 Aug 2008
[accessed 16 December 2010]

The National Bureau of Investigation alerted the public on Sunday over the rampant smuggling of
human organs in the Philippines. The NBI said smugglers are now targeting childen who are
kidnapped and taken abroad where their organs are sold to foreign nationals. The human
smugglers, whose usual buyers are Middle Eastern nationals, allegedly abduct children and house
them somewhere in Mindanao. Lawyer Ferdinand Lavin of the NBI's Human Trafficking Division

said the victims are provided with vitamin supplements to keep their internal organs healthy. He
said the victims will then be transported outside the country to undergo surgery for organ

*** ARCHIVES ***

Art Jahnke, Bostonia, Winter-Spring 2015

[accessed 11 May 2015]

Why did the FBI find so many victims of human trafficking in one heartland city? Because thats
where they looked for them. Cynthia Cordes led the search.
The moment the agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement pulled into the parking lot,
Filipinos on the hotels housekeeping staff began to imagine the worst. They would be handcuffed.
They would be questioned for hours. Their papers would be found to be out of order. Ultimately,
they would be deported and would return home, where they would explain about the costs of visas
and housing and transportation, about the paychecks that after all the deductions barely covered
expenses. They would admit that they could never repay their uncles and cousins who had given
much of their savings to send them to the United States.
Thats how their journey would end, they feared, with the entire village seeing the folly of their
journey, the futility of their dreams.
Why the Philippines is still in US trafficking Tier 2 Watch List (for 2 years in a row)!
NO to Trafficking, Nov 13, 2010
[accessed 18 December 2010]

IF ITS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE - The five women related that they left farming activities in

Mindanao in September 2010 hopeful of promised high paying domestic jobs in the Middle East
and a good life for them and their families. However, they found themselves in a South Manila
house, cramped with 30 other women, mostly Muslim, from Mindanao, similarly wondering what
have become of those promises.
The women were told that their working visas were already in Manila, even though they have not
submitted documents or undergone medical examinations. They had borrowed money to pay for
their transportation expenses.
These women stayed in the recruiters house. Their passports had been confiscated; they were
told that they were endorsed to prospective recruitment agencies for possible deployment abroad.
After a month without any development, they no longer believed the recruiter.
Everyday, these women had only one pandesal for breakfast and nothing for lunch and dinner.
That was why they ventured out to ask food from neighbors, and met Mrs. Reyes in the process.
One of the recruits told the recruiter that she was pregnant, asked to be released, reimbursed of
her transportation expenses, and for her passport. The recruiter gave her Cytotec instead, and
asked P31, 000 in exchange for her freedom.
IACAT and IJM elated over latest conviction of human trafficker
Philippines News Agency PNA, Manila, Nov. 28
[accessed 19 August 2014]

The four (4) accused were convicted for victimizing minor girls, with ages ranging from 14-16
years old. The victims had been sexually exploited and were made to work as prostitutes by the
accused. One of the four complainants was promised the job of a cashier, while the other three
were told they will work as group dancers. Instead, they all ended up as GROs in a videoke club
and were forced to engage in acts of prostitution. They also were not brought to Laguna as
agreed, but instead toDaraga, Albay. The victims were never allowed to leave the videoke club,
until they were rescued by the NBI Anti-Human Trafficking Division. - htcp
Human Trafficking Cases Increased
Sun Star, March 20, 2008

[accessed 19 January 2011]

Sheila, Valerie and Bridget (not their real names), who hailed from poor families here, have set
their sights to as far as Manila, Brunei, and Japan for employment to alleviate the plight of their
respective families. However, instead of working as domestic helpers, they ended up as
prostitutes. Their recruiters vanished like thin smokes in the air. "They have been promised
heaven, but hell greeted them." Rebecca Magante, secretariat head of the Local Inter-Agency
Task Force Against Trafficking in Person (Liatfat), stressed how the three became victims of
human trafficking. The trios cases were among the 11 filed in the courts of General Santos since
the task force was created in 2005.
Filipino children sell kidneys to help parents
Barbara Mae Dacanay, Bureau Chief, Gulf News, June 23, 2009
[accessed 16 December 2010]

Some 250 Filipinos, two of them below 18, have sold one of their kidneys to recruiters who supply
them to patients who need transplants, a local paper has said. "Someone recruited them and
they were paid 112,000 pesos (Dh8,493) each for their kidneys," Abueva said, adding that forcing
or persuading Filipino children to sell their kidneys is the newest form of child exploitation in the
country today. Syndicates are now using online marketing, through the internet, where they offer
organs to prospective foreign and local buyers, said Dr Benita Padilla of the National Kidney and
Transplant Institute.
NBI raises alarm on child-organ trafficking
ABS-CBN News Online, 24 Aug 2008
[accessed 6 February 2016]

The National Bureau of Investigation alerted the public on Sunday over the rampant smuggling of
human organs in the Philippines. The NBI said smugglers are now targeting childen who are
kidnapped and taken abroad where their organs are sold to foreign nationals. The human
smugglers, whose usual buyers are Middle Eastern nationals, allegedly abduct children and house
them somewhere in Mindanao. Lawyer Ferdinand Lavin of the NBI's Human Trafficking Division
said the victims are provided with vitamin supplements to keep their internal organs healthy. He
said the victims will then be transported outside the country to undergo surgery for organ
Cagayan de Oro, Bukidnon Top Trafficking Cases
Annabelle L. Ricalde, The Sun.Star, July 29, 2008
[accessed 16 December 2010]

Cases of human trafficking this year are high in Bukidnon province and Cagayan de Oro
compared to other places in Northern Mindanao, said the Commission on Filipinos Overseas
(CFO) Task Force Against Human Trafficking.
She said women are more preferred by human traffickers because of "the availability of the labor
force for women." The "jobs" offered for women often include forced prostitution, while others land
into forced labor, slavery, servitude, or the removal of organs, she added.
Ex-diplomat implicated in human trafficking
Gilbert Felongco, Gulf News, July 10, 2008
[accessed 16 December 2010]

PRIVILEGE ABUSE - Under labour rules, Filipino diplomats can recruit personnel from the

Philippines to serve in their own household. In the civil case she filed against the Bajas and their
travel agency, Baoanan, a registered nurse, said she had paid P250,000 to her recruiters so that
she could enter the US legally. While serving as maid to the family that facilitated her entry to the
US, she said she was to serve them 16 hours a day and was paid only $100 for three months of
Human trafficking victim now an entrepreneur
Tonette Orejas, Central Luzon Desk, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Angeles City, June 17, 2008
[accessed 16 December 2010]

ESCAPING A BAD MARRIAGE - We washed clothes, cleaned the house. We were not given

breakfast. [We were fed] noodle soup cooked in a bucket of water with some eggs. The rice was
either spoiled or smelled bad. We were not allowed to talk to each other and we were prohibited
from calling our relatives, Pacheco said of the ordeal. The women came from her village
in SapangBato in Angeles City or from various parts of Mindanao, all hoping to get jobs in the
Middle East, she said. For her part, Pacheco thought she could escape a bad marriage by
working abroad.
Trafficking of Filipinas in Singapore 'unabated'--embassy
Veronica Uy, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Manila, 04/28/2008

[accessed 6 February 2016]

In November 2007, posted a special report on the growing number of young
Filipino women being lured to Singapore on the false promise of a high-paying job only to end up
in prostitution. The increased incidence of trafficking of Asian women, including Filipinas, to
Singapore prompted the United States State Department to downgrade the city-state's rating from
Tier 1 in 2006 to Tier 2 this year.
Philippine Ambassador to Singapore Belen Fule-Anota said Filipinas who want to work overseas
must scrutinize their recruiters in the Philippines well and ensure they have valid contracts before
leaving the country. She also advised jobseekers to have their contracts duly verified by the
Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) "before packing their bags for
DOJ chief, kidney recipient, wants organ trafficking outlawed
GMA News TV - 04/14/2008
[accessed 16 December 2010]

The issue got the attention of media, who reported that it was becoming more common for poor
people and prisoners to sell their kidneys and other organs for paltry sums to syndicates catering
mostly to foreign clients.
Human Trafficking in the Philippines: Victims Kin Part of Problem and Solution
Bong S. Sarmiento, Philippine Human Rights Reporting Project, GENERAL SANTOS CITY, 7 MARCH 2008

[accessed 16 December 2010]

Dubbed Tuna Capital of the Philippines, General Santos City in southern Mindanao is considered
a trafficking hotspot because of the proliferation of bars and transit houses, according to the
Visayan Forum Foundation, a non-government organization that works to monitor and curb the
crime. The city with its large seaport is a traditional crossing point to nearby Brunei, Indonesia and
But on top of its strategic location, human trafficking thrives in this city because of effective
parental consent, according to Rebecca Magante, chief of the local social welfare and
development office and secretariat head of LIATFAT. The sad fact is that parents egg their
children on when they are approached by these people in the hope they will send back money to
the family, she says.
Organ trafficking: a fast-expanding black market
IHS Jane's, 05 March 2008
[accessed 26 June 2013]

China, India, Pakistan, Egypt, Brazil, the Philippines, Moldova, and Romania are among the
world's leading providers of trafficked organs. If China is known for harvesting and selling organs
from executed prisoners, the other countries have been dealing essentially with living donors,
becoming stakeholders in the fast-growing human trafficking web.
Trafficking of Filipinos in Singapore all-time high
Veronica Uy, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Manila, 02/04/2008

[accessed 16 December 2010]

The modus operandi essentially has illegal recruiters promise young women non-existent jobs as
waitresses or guest relations officers in restaurants and hotels in Singapore. They are each
charged a minimal S$100 to S$1,000 as recruitment fee in the Philippines, and given roundtrip
tickets (sometimes the return ticket is fake), a fake invitation letter, and show money for showing

to Philippine immigration officials who scrutinize their financial capacity as tourists. Expecting to
work in legitimate jobs, Filipinas end up working as prostitutes. They are forced to provide sexual
services to customers and earn commissions from alcoholic drinks to enable them to pay the
$1,000 to S$4,000 they allegedly owe their handlers. The report said victims who fled to the
embassy were provided shelter and assisted in their repatriation back to the Philippines. They are
interviewed, their affidavit taken, and are advised to file a complaint either in Singapore or in the
Solon seeks action vs human trafficking in Visayas
GMA News TV - December 24, 2007
[accessed 16 December 2010]

In a statement, An Waray Rep. Florencio Bem" Noel said hundreds of Eastern Visayan women
and young children are going to spend their Christmas inside brothels and sweatshops in Metro
Manila as the trade of human trafficking continues unabated.
For these young Warays, Christmas means spending the holidays inside a dark room with a
complete paying stranger or working to death inside factories not fit for humans," Noel said.
With the grinding poverty, the cases are bound to increase every year and the solution is the
combined vigilance of Eastern Visayas provincial and local leaders, law enforcement agencies and
the national government through the DSWD," Noel said.
As the end of school season draws near, students from poor families are lured with summer jobs
in Metro Manila. The offer is usually tempting for families that cannot afford send their children in
the next school season," he said.
He said the victims are usually recruited as househelp or workers in seedy factories only to end up
working without pay in sex brothels and sweatshops.
DSWD bats for comprehensive program to hasten rehab of human trafficking victims
Renee F. De Guzman, Philippine Information Agency PIA, San Fernando City, La Union, 6 December 2007
[accessed 16 December 2010]

Mrs. Sampang emphasized to the victim-survivors during the dialogue, not to

blame themselves as they are just victims of ignorance and lack of awareness of the modus
operandi of illegal recruiters. "Your cases should serve as eye opener to other youth and
individuals not to become the next victim of human trafficking", she added. On the other hand,
Director Finardo Cabilao of DSWD Central Office noted in his message the increasing incidence in
the country of human trafficking or commoditizing human beings, including such activities as
selling of body organs, mail order brides, hard labor and prostitution which are becoming
customary in nature.
Human trafficking cases in E. Visayas alarming
Joey A. Gabieta, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Tacloban City, 12/05/2007

[accessed 17 December 2010]

Eastern Visayas continues to be a source of women and children being sent to Metro Manila
brothels and sweatshops, and the number of trafficking cases is alarming, according to the
Department of Social Welfare and Development in the region. DSWD officials said the number of
human trafficking cases was increasing despite efforts to stop them.
She said the victims were mostly children and women who were recruited by trafficking gangs.
The victims end up working without pay in brothels and sweatshops in Metro Manila, she said.
Sex slaves sue for human trafficking
Vice President Noli "Kabayan" De Castro, Press Release, November 23, 2007
[accessed 19 August 2014]

The complainants alleged that they were recruited by an unnamed Filipina recruiter who has
connections with a Malaysian immigration officer and offered them jobs as waitresses and were
deployed abroad without going through the POEA for document processing.
But against their will, they were allegedly made sex slaves and were not allowed to go out of the
building where they are housed. There are still more than 40 other Filipinas in the sex den and
more are being recruited, they said.

Halfway houses at ports protect sex trade victims

Gerald Gene R. Querubin, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Batangas City, 11/22/2007

[accessed 6 February 2016]

A female recruiter, who promised Ana a job as a storekeeper in Cavite, flew her from her home
province of Bukidnon to Manila in January 2006. From there, she was brought to Cavite and
forced to work as a guest relations officer (GRO) in a bar and, eventually, as a prostitute. With
three other girlsall minorsAna was made to work from 4 p.m. till past midnight. If the girls
refused to cooperate, Steve, a nephew of the bar owner, would beat them or douse them with
water. - htcp
161 rescued from human traffickers -- BI
Jerome Aning, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Manila, September 3, 2007
[accessed 17 December 2010]

Libanan said the human trafficking victims were rescued when they were barred from leaving the
country for being "tourist workers," or undocumented overseas Filipino workers disguised as
tourists. He said the bulk of the offloaded tourist workers were bound for the Middle East and
other destinations such as Singapore and Hong Kong. Libanan informed Arroyo that the BI strictly
implemented her directive for the agency to take the lead in stopping the escort racket to
safeguard and protect the interest of overseas Filipino workers.
25 Pct. Of Global Human Trafficking Victims Are Filipinos
[access date unavailable]

The International Justice Mission on Thursday said that 25 percent of global human trafficking
involves Filipinos, meaning that for every four humans trafficked across the globe, one of them is a
Dealing with human trafficking
Philippine Daily Inquirer, Manila, 08/19/2007
[accessed 17 December 2010]

Leaving home to work elsewhere is a dream many Filipinos nurture. It is their answer to poverty
and joblessness. Yet, there have been too many stories of migrants heading for faraway places,
only to find themselves in the worst kinds of employment: as prostitutes or slaves, doing bonded
labor for which they are sometimes not paid at all.
The victims of domestic trafficking are mostly young men and women from the remote areas in
theVisayas and Mindanao. Their destination: Metro Manila. Most of them end up as prostitutes,
domestic helpers or factory workers, and discover that life in the big city can be a nightmare.
A dirty secret in the Philippines: slave brokers
Jason Gutierrez, Agence France-Presse AFP, Manila, Jul 20, 2007
[accessed 17 December 2010]

A distant relative had duped Quezo's father into allowing her to travel with him to Manila when she
was barely 12, supposedly for a leisure trip. That hot summer day was the last time she saw her
family in impoverished Muslim Mindanao. The relative turned out to be a broker for a human
trafficking syndicate, but decided to keep Quezo as his personal slave. For three years, the young
girl worked for him as a cook, nanny and maid -- and was not paid a cent.
Then one day, her captor forgot to lock the gates and Quezo escaped, only to end up lost in the
dank alleys of Manila's slums, working odd jobs that paid enough to buy food and the clothes on
her back.
Quezo is now rebuilding her life, learning livelihood skills that should help her reintegrate into
society. She remains hesitant about going home, fearful of her parents' reaction.
Human traffickers rarely punished
Sun Star, Jul 17, 2007
[accessed 17 December 2010]

Statistics from the Department of Justice (DOJ) showed that since 2003, 248 cases of human
trafficking have been filed, of which the highest number was filed in 2005 with 114 cases. Deanna
Perez, Senior State Prosecutor for DOJ and head of the Secretariat of the Inter-Agency Council
against Trafficking (IACAT), said the slow disposition of cases in the courts contributes to the low
number of convictions. A large number of the cases are still in the process of initial investigation,
she said. Aside from this, some victims have withdrawn charges for fear of their lives or simply
because they cannot endure the emotional stress of a trial.
Women comprise 75.1% of human trafficking victims in Region 8 last year
Philippine Information Agency PIA Press Release, March 6, 2007
[accessed 17 December 2010]

However, the victims from Region 8 increased from 108 in 2005 to 132 in 2006 or a 22.2 percent
increase. What is most appalling is that more than half or 54.6% of the total trafficked victims in
the region in 2006 were children ranging from 13-17years old.
Human trafficking - Editorial
The Philippine Star, 11 Feb 2007
[accessed 19 August 2014]

The country can play an even better role by intensifying the campaign against human trafficking in
its own backyard. Illegal recruiters continue to lure women and even minors from impoverished
communities nationwide to work overseas as maids or entertainers. Many of the women end up as
commercial sex workers or find themselves unable to leave employers who abuse them physically
and sexually.
Talent scout nabbed for human trafficking


Jing Villamentefrom, The Manila Standard, Feb 08, 2007
[accessed 18 December 2010]

A gay fashion show manager sending Filipino women to China was arrested by agents of the
National Bureau of Investigation after victims complained that they ended up as sex slaves in
Lasala said Fajardo brought them to nightclub where they had to work 20 hours a day providing
sex during their 23-day stay. The duped recruits later learned that Fajardo had abandoned them,
taking all their earnings.
Human traffickers found opening up new route in Calbayog-Masbate
Philippine Information Agency PIA Press Release, Tacloban City, 2007/01/29
[accessed 18 December 2010]

In the end, Director Corillo said that there is a need to educate the people especially the young
adults so that they will not become victims of human trafficking. More often than not, the victims
give consent to the human traffickers because they are in dire need for work. Also, many times,
the parents are the ones who push their children by consenting that they go with the perpetrators.
It is the consensus that poverty is the root cause of victims of human trafficking. Aside from going
after the human traffickers so that they will not be able to continue their illegal activities, the
solution really is helping the families to have sufficient resources.
Bacolod reports 16 cases of human trafficking
Philippine Information Agency PIA, Nov 21, 2006
[accessed 18 December 2010]

She disclosed that one of the main problems they face in dealing with TIP victims is in the
reintegration of victims to their family and community where the lack of social workers is critically
felt. Batapa is seeking for the accreditation of local Non-Government Organizations that will fulfill
the lack of manpower and competence to handle the victims.
The path to recovery of Isabel and Irene
[accessed 24 April 2012]
[scroll down]

The flight schedule was pinned up on the wall. The pimps arrived and began to argue with the
police claiming that they had an understanding with the police chief. But the police we had with us
were from a different station. While they were busy discussing the payoff, the Preda team went
into the house with the mother and found Isabel. They got her out into the van and sped away
before anyone could stop them. It was clear that there would be no investigation and no arrests. If
only we could have rescued all the girls it would have been a great days work but unfortunately it
was impossible. The girls were teenagers and one of then had a baby.
Covering trafficking
Rina Jimenez-David, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 09/22/2006
[accessed 18 December 2010]

Here are some suggestions on how media coverage of trafficking could do better:
First, get off this obsession with foreign trafficking. While researching and writing the book
Nightmare Journeys: Filipina Sojourns Through the World of Trafficking, I encountered stories of
women who followed a route of domestic trafficking before being trafficked abroad -- from their
small towns to bigger cities, then on to Manila, before they were shipped out of the country.
Domestic trafficking feeds global trafficking.
Next, we could draw attention to other aspects of the issue: structural problems in society that
render women and children vulnerable, issues of gender inequality and the human rights of
women and children, and the sense of male entitlement that feeds the demand for a growing
pool of trafficked women and children.
If the media are to cover trafficking as a crime, then they should make the effort to follow the
story to its real conclusion, and not stop at just the raid or rescue and the arrest. Coverage from
arraignment, trial and hopefully conviction, would show both the limitations and potentials of new
laws governing trafficking. For instance, I have just found out that through the efforts of a wide
range of agencies, the government has been able to win convictions for seven individuals on
grounds of trafficking.
VP De Castro, US envoy seeking end to human trafficking
Cynthia D. Balana, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 09/20/2006,_US_envoy_seeking_end_to_human_trafficking

[accessed 18 December 2010]

De Castro said overseas Filipino victims are usually undocumented nationals who gain entry into
other countries using visitors visas and end up working in sex dens or other establishments under
debt slavery conditions. Some are legally processed as overseas workers but are victimized
through violations of their original contracts, he added.
Team ready vs human trafficking
Ferdinand Fabella, Manila Standard Today, Sep 4, 2006
Click [here] to access the article. Its URL is not displayed because of its length
[accessed 27 June 2013]

Western Visayas, particularly Negros Occidental, is one the regions in the Philippines with a rising
number of women and children being trafficked for work and sexual exploitation.
Aside from Western Visayas, Southern Tagalog, Bicol, Central and Eastern Visayas are also
considered to be hotspots, with 127 surveillance and 77 rescue operations conducted recently,
said the labor department.
NGO gets $179,000-US grant for human trafficking victims
Nikko Dizon, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 06/27/2006$179,000US_grant_for_human_trafficking_victims
[accessed 18 December 2010]

The United States government has provided a grant of 179,000 dollars to help a Philippine nongovernmental organization expand its halfway house operations to help victims of human
trafficking, according to a statement by the US Embassy in Manila.

IT skills training enlisted in fight vs human trafficking

Joey Alarilla,, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 06/03/2006

[accessed 18 December 2010]

Based on the statistics provided by the Visayan Forum Foundation, most victims are between 12
to 22 years old. Since 2001, a total of 10, 523 victims and potential victims of human trafficking in
the Philippines have been served in the Port Halfway Houses, which is a partnership program
between the Visayan Forum Foundation and the Philippine Ports Authority. The numbers may be
even higher, however, because of the difficulty in accurately tracking numbers in all the country's
Hi-tech human trafficking in RP getting worse
Alexander Villafania,, 2006-05-29
At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]
[accessed 10 September 2011]

Human traffickers in the Philippines have begun using the Internet in their operations, according to
an official of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT).
IACAT chief Severino Gaa, Jr. said at a press conference that many female victims end up
working for pornography websites where they perform sexual acts in front of webcams for paying
Microsoft gives P10M to fight human trafficking in RP
Erwin Lemuel Oliva,, 2006-05-29
At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]
[accessed 10 September 2011]

MICROSOFT Philippines will give 10 million pesos in cash and a software grant to a non-profit
organization enagaged in anti-human trafficking activities in the Philippines, officials said. An
estimated 10,000 survivors and potential victims of human trafficking stand to benefit from this
two-year program.
Speaking the truth on prostitution
Agence France-Presse AFP, HONG KONG, Jan 12, 2006
[accessed 18 December 2010]

HEADY DREAMS - Born in the southern part of the main Philippines island of Luzon, Pascual was

16 when she began working the bars, fresh out of high school and with heady dreams of
becoming a restaurateur.
She asked her aunt for help in getting her a job. The aunt sold her to a man who pimped her to a
massive nightclub of 3,000 girls in Olongapo in return for a cut of her first four months of "wages."
Palace vows conviction of human traffickers
Paolo Romero, Star, Manila, November 11, 2005
[accessed 28 June 2013]

The Palace spokesman issued his statement after United States embassy deputy chief of mission
Scott Bellard said Wednesday that, despite the Philippines anti-human trafficking law, no
suspected traffickers had been prosecuted.
Viewpoint : Big bucks trade
Juan Mercado, Cebu Daily News, July 12, 2007
[accessed 28 August 2011]

The Philippines was the first country to adopt in 2003 an Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act. And
Quezon City Regional Trial Court Judge Teodoro Bay sentenced a couple to 160 years in prison
for peddling starlets to moneyed sex trade clients. There are seven convictions now. Overall the
Philippines has enough laws, says the Nevada University study. The problem is implementation.
In Cebu, a task force operated ineptly. Police were untrained. Lawyers lacked understanding of the
new law. The net effect seems to be punishment of the girls, not the perpetrators. They sit there
and look, like this [Cebu] 'barangay' [neighborhood district] official, the Nevada University study
quotes a nun helping girls trapped in the red light district. But he has his own bars. Many of the
brothels there are owned by policemen. Oh, he is my customer, a girl will tell us. And now, he is

the one who imprisons me.

Court finds couple guilty of human trafficking
The Filipino Express, Manila, Jan 15, 2006
[partially accessed 18 December 2010 - access restricted]

THE Quezon City Regional Trial Court sentenced a couple to 160 years in prison for peddling
starlets and would-be movie stars to moneyed sex trade clients.
In a 25-page decision, Judge Teodoro Bay imposed four life terms against Den Jerson Tongco and
his wife Alicia in a second case of conviction against human traffickers in the Philippines.
The Tongcos were also found guilty of illegally recruiting men and women, whom the couple
promised of jobs in the local entertainment industry, only to end up selling sex to foreigners,
businessmen and moneyed professionals.
DFA says 6 more convicted under anti-trafficking law
[access information unavailable]

The Department of Foreign Affairs has monitored six more convictions for violation of the AntiTrafficking in Persons Act, increasing to seven the total number of convictions since the law was
passed in 2003.
Trafficking Of Women And Children
Judge Nimfa Cuesta Vilches, ExpertLaw Library, January, 2004
[accessed 16 December 2010]

A girl child in the Philippines is discriminated upon early in life due to culture-based and family
reinforced gender biases. For instance, despite her special nutritional needs in preparation as
future mother and nurturer, the girl child is allotted less food than her father and her brothers.
When money for education is scarce, her brothers are given the preference.
The Filipino girl child takes the stereotyped role of her mother who is portrayed as an abused and
submissive woman relegated to domestic work. Moreover, the public considers girls and women
as sex objects and typifies them as club/bar entertainers, beauty pageant contestants, and racy or
pornographic film stars.
The pejorative expectations that Filipino society has on women and children are compounded by
problems of extreme poverty; massive labor export; globalization; porous borders; aggressive
tourism campaigns; negative portrayal of women by mass media; pornography on-line and internet
chat-rooms; the practice of mail-order brides; inter-country adoption; and joint military exercises in
the country with visiting forces from abroad. These factors cause women to become easy victims
of sex-trafficking and other forms of sexual exploitation either in the Philippines or in countries of
Sex worker joins campaign vs prostitution
Asian Sex Gazette, October 18, 2005,747430

[accessed 19 August 2014]

She was sexually assaulted by a relative. She filed charges against her attacker, but without
witnesses, the case did not prosper. Wanting to escape from her past, she went with a recruiter
who promised her a job that paid P1,000 a day as a saleslady in Olongapo City. During the
"interview," she was drugged and taken to a nightclub.
The prevalence of human trafficking
Wenna A. Berondo, The Freeman, Jul 03, 2005
[accessed 28 June 2013]

According to him, Cebu is among the top five areas in the country where child prostitution and sex
tourism are prevalent because it is the destination of international and domestic trafficking of kids
ages 11 to 17 from nearby provinces of Samar, Leyte, Bohol, and Negros.
Illicit cross-border trade is the ugly face of globalization
Flerida Ruth P. Romero, Philippine Daily Inquirer News Service, page A16 of the May 22, 2005 issue,41748020

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly also be accessible [here]

[accessed 20 August 2014]

CONSUMABLE IMPORTS - Unfortunately, in the Philippines, there is a dearth of baseline data on

the true state of human trafficking. According to Jean Enriquez, the reasons are, among others,
"the underground nature of trafficking; the stigma placed on victims of sexual exploitation; the lack
of a name for the problem at the community level and awareness of acts of trafficking as violations
of human rights, thus, the low rate of reporting; and the same lack of awareness among many
government agencies and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), thus, the few interventions
and documentation of cases."
UNICEF raps child-trafficking in RP
Edson C. Tandoc Jr., Philippine Daily Inquirer News Service, page A2 of the May 16, 2005 issue
At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]
[accessed 10 September 2011]

If not being forced into prostitution, children are made to pose nude for pornographic materials or
Web sites. "Parents think that by taking photographs of their children naked, they are not harming
them. But they are taking away their childhood," Davis said. He said child trafficking was one of
the three biggest problems affecting Filipino children, the others being malnutrition and lack of
education. Child trafficking in the Philippines is as bad as in Thailand and Cambodia, he said.
NBI Busts Mail-Order Bride Syndicate
Star, Manila, January 18, 2005
[accessed 20 August 2014]

In his report to Wycoco, NBI Anti-Human Trafficking Division (AHTRAD) chief Romulo Asis said
the groups modus operandi was to entice Filipino women to apply for match-marriages with male
Koreans. Asis said Korean clients would come to the Philippines and choose a wife to take to
Korea. However, two months after the arranged marriage, the husband abandons the wife and
looks for another Filipina to marry.
Human Traffickers - Japan Is Limiting The Entry Of All Foreign Entertainers
Star, Manila, February 28, 2005
[accessed 28 June 2013]

Tokyo wants to clamp down on Japanese crime rings, or yakuza, that bring women into that
country from Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America for prostitution and forced labor. Manila
should welcome this move and focus on the opening of the Japanese market for foreign nurses
and caregivers.
Sex Trafficking Growing In S.E.Asia
Fayen Wong, Reuters, Singapore, April 26, 2005
[accessed 1 September 2011]

Girls from the villages of Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia and the Philippines are lured into cities
or neighboring countries with promises of lucrative jobs as waitresses and domestic helpers, only
to end up in massage parlors and karaoke bars. Others are flown as far as Australia, Japan,
South Africa and the United States to be kept as slaves in brothels -- beaten, drugged, starved or
raped in the first days of their reclusion to intimidate and prepare them for clients, the experts say.
Wising Up On Sexual Trafficking Of Women And Children


Delia Jurado, The Freeman, February 16, 2005

[accessed 18 December 2010]
[scroll down]

The dark side, unfortunately, is that Cebu is considered as one of the top five areas for child
prostitution and sex tourism. Cebu City has become the destination point of internal and domestic
trafficking of children as young as 11 to 17 years old coming from Samar, Bohol, Leyte, Negros
and Bacolod.
The Protection Project Philippines


The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), The Johns Hopkins University
[accessed 24 February 2016]

A Human Rights Report on Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children

Freedom House Country Report - Political Rights: 4 Civil Liberties: 3 Status: Partly Free
2009 Edition
[accessed 27 June 2012]

Human Rights Overview

Human Rights Watch
[accessed 18 December 2010]

U.S. Library of Congress - Country Study

Library of Congress Call Number DS655 .P598 1993
[accessed 18 December 2010]

Philippines is 4th in trafficking of children

Mars W. Mosqueda Jr., Cebu city, 12 February 2005 -- Source:
At one time this article had been archived and may possibly also be accessible [here]
[accessed 10 September 2011]

The Philippines ranked fourth among nine nations with the most number of children trafficked for
prostitution, the Consortium Against Trafficking of Children and Women for Sexual Exploitation
(Catch-Wise) reported.
In the Visayas, Cebu has been the destination of international and domestic trafficking of children,
aged from 11 to 17, who are from Samar, Bohol, Leyte, Negros and Bacolod. Cebu is now
considered one of the top five areas for child prostitution and sex tourism.
Rapid Assessment: Human Smuggling and Trafficking from the Philippines


United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute UNICRI and Australian Institute of Criminology,
November 1999
At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]
[accessed 10 September 2011]

Part I: The Problem -- The Philippine Situation -- Trafficking in Women -- Two Studies on Trafficking

- The Pilot Project includes case

studies of women who have migrated for employment or marriage, either to Iran, Belgium, Kuwait.
These case studies provide details of each of these womens circumstances prior to, during and
after migration, including how they travelled, their expectations and their actual experiences. Three
of these case studies can be considered as case studies of victims of trafficking.

ECPAT Philippines Launches the Anti-Child Trafficking Campaign in the Philippines

Medge Olivarez, ECPAT Philippines, February 2004
[accessed 2 September 2012]

THE CHILD TRAFFICKING PHENOMENA - Every year, hundreds of thousands of children are sold

and enslaved. No official figures are available but many separate studies and assessments have
been made: Fifty-four percent of trafficked children in the Philippines are 15-17 years old and in
1999 there were 85 child trafficking victims documented by the Department of Social Welfare and
Government Action Plans >> Philippines >> Government Action Plans
[accessed 18 December 2010]


Philippines Government has acknowledged the problem of trafficking in women and children and
has carried out activities through the collective efforts of various national and local government
units, in collaboration with non-governmental organizations, the private sector, and international
The Human Rights of Migrant Workers - A Summary Report on the Human Trafficking Elements of the
Findings and Recommendations of the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants

Franciscans International, April 2003

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]
[accessed 10 September 2011]


According to the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO), 65 percent of the victims were women
and 25 percent of them were forced into prostitution; 51 percent of the victims were trafficked with
their consent/knowledge while 47 percent were deceived.
Priest sets children free - Missionary to Philippines wages ongoing battle against prostitution
Ramon Gonzalez, Western Catholic Reporter WCR Staff Writer, Edmonton, Week of May 15, 2000
At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]
[accessed 10 September 2011]

In 1999 PREDA, through the International League of Action, was able to bring to justice a group of
Norwegians who were trafficking children from one town in the Philippines and bringing them to
Oslo for sexual abuse. The youngest of these children were six and seven years old.
Internal Trafficking in Children for the Worst Forms of Child Labour: Final Report
Amparita S. Sta. Maria, Mary Jane L. Zantua & Rea A. Chiongson, Collection of Studies from Other Institutions,
Philippine Institute for Development Studies, Socio economic Research Portal for the Philippines, CHL 2001-31
At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]
[accessed 10 September 2011]

This paper presents an overview of internal trafficking in children, with focus on the worst forms of
child labour. Admittedly, much of previous researches and discussions on trafficking as a
phenomenon had been generally concentrated on women. As far as children are concerned, and
at least within the Philippine setting, trafficking has been construed more in the context of their
sale, barter and illegal smuggle out of the country. This research document is based on the
following data: (1) interviews conducted with seven trafficked children; (2) three case studies
representing different modes of trafficking; and, (3) previous researches and studies made by
government agencies and non-governmental organizations which focus on children and child
This paper presents the following conclusions: 1. Acknowledging Poverty as the Major Push
Factor in Trafficking: Poverty as the major determining factor in trafficking of children cannot be
overemphasized. It is the main reason why children are forced to work and why they must work
and abandoning school in the process. 2. Call for a Comprehensive Definition of Trafficking and
Continuous Data Gathering: There is no doubt that trafficking plays an important role in the
exploitation of children for the worst forms of child labour. Although not all children experience
being trafficked, it is highly possible that a significant proportion of them do. Trafficking therefore
must be analyzed separately from the exploitation that proceeds from it. Its actual relation with and
impact on the number of children exploited must also be realistically assessed. Without the ...
The Department of Labors 2004 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor
U.S. Dept of Labor Bureau of International Labor Affairs, 2005
[accessed 16 December 2010]

INCIDENCE AND NATURE OF CHILD LABOR - Children are reportedly trafficked internally for

purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and labor. Children are also known to be involved in
the trafficking of drugs within the country. There are no reports of child soldiers in the government
armed forces, but children under the age of 18 are used as soldiers in paramilitary and armed
opposition groups such as the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the Abu Sayyaf Group and the New
Peoples Army.
Human Rights Reports 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices
U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006
[accessed 16 December 2010]

TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS Both adults and children were trafficked domestically from poor, rural

areas in the southern and central parts of the country to major urban centers, especially Metro
Manila and Cebu, but also increasingly to cities in Mindanao. A significant percentage of the
victims of internal trafficking were from Mindanao and were fleeing the poverty and violence in
their home areas. Approximately 75 percent of the trafficking victims provided with temporary
shelter and counseling by the NGO Visayan Forum Foundation were from Mindanao. The Visayan
islands were also a source of trafficking victims. Women and girls were far more at risk of

becoming victims of trafficking than men and boys.

Traffickers targeted persons seeking overseas employment. Most recruits were females ages 13
to 30 from poor farming families. The traffickers generally were private employment recruiters and
their partners in organized crime. Many recruiters targeted persons from their own hometowns,
promising a respectable and lucrative job.
Victims faced exposure to sexually transmitted or other infectious diseases, and were vulnerable
to beatings, sexual abuse, and humiliation
Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC)
UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 3 June 2005
[accessed 16 December 2010]

[85] The Committee welcomes the adoption of, in 2003, the new Anti-Trafficking Law (Republic Act
9208) and other measures taken by the State party in the areas of prevention of trafficking and
protection of victims, such as the establishment of Anti-Illegal Recruitment Coordination Councils,
the Trade Union Child Labor Advocate (TUCLAS) initiative and the establishment of an Executive
Council to suppress trafficking in person particularly women and children. But the Committee is
gravely concerned about trafficked Filipino children both within the country and across borders.
The Committee expresses its concern about existing risk factors contributing to trafficking
activities, such as persisting poverty, temporary overseas migration, growing sex tourism and
weak law enforcement in the State party.

According to the U.S. Department of State, the Asian nation of the Philippines is a source country
for human trafficking (Filipinos trafficked within their own country as well as other countries). The
primary forms of trafficking in the Philippines are labor, sexual exploitation, child soldiery, mailorder brides, organ harvesting, and debt bondage. The sex trafficking of hundreds of boys and
girls is often facilitated by well established local businesses, corrupt government officials, law
enforcement, and family. There are nearly 400,000 adult women and minor girls working in the
Philippines sex trade, and it is estimated that there are as many as 100,000 child prostitutes,
serving a large tourist population, making it the 4th largest child sex exploitative country in the
world. Finally, in addition to the internal trafficking, victims are trafficked from the Philippines to
Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Japan, and Saudi Arabia for labor or sex.
Although the Philippines is listed as a Tier 2 country by the United States Department of State, it
is taking steps to combat trafficking. However, lack of awareness, political and legal corruption,
and poor infrastructure combine to act as a hindrance. And although the Filipino government has
made greater efforts to support rescued trafficking survivors, the sheer volume of victims
overwhelms their fragile and infantile victim assistance programs.
Human Trafficking in the Philippines:
The Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the New Peoples Army capitalize on highly conflictafflicted areas by recruiting children. Children are a particularly vulnerable class; conflicts
increase a childs susceptibility exponentially. Children, sometimes orphans of a conflict,
are targeted by militant groups as both combatants and noncombatants. The United
Nations has declared the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the New Peoples Army as
leading violators against children in conflict areas.
Organized criminal syndicates and criminal gangs facilitate much of the trafficking within
the Philippines and surrounding countries. Its rare for gangs to cooperate to the extend
that Japanese Yakuza, Chinese Triad, Russian and Italian Mafia, Nigerian warlords, and
Latin American cartels co-exist in order to promote and escalate human trafficking.
There are up to 1.5 million street children in urban areas of the Philippines leading to high
risk trafficking situations by leaving young girls and boys susceptible to prostitution and
drug trafficking.
Each year, an estimated 300,000 Japanese become sex tourists in the Philippines. Other
frequent sex tourists are Americans, Australians, Britons, Germans, and Swiss.

The Philippines has the highest rate of child prostitution in the world in a tourist area
according to UNICEF.
Because 70% of Filipino women live in poverty, they are easy prey for mail-bride
The Philippines is among the top 5 organ trafficking hotspots according to the World
Health Organization.
Natural disasters such as the recent typhoons and earthquakes cause chaos, death,
confusion, orphans, and displaced people. Traffickers are able to seize on these tragedies
by kidnapping or recruiting new trafficking victims.
Examples of trafficking in the Philippines:
Children who have lost one or both parents in conflict areas are vulnerable to sex
traffickers or militant groups as child soldiers.
Impoverished families are susceptible to offers to sell their children to traffickers in order
to provide for the remaining family members.
Children from rural areas are routinely trafficked as domestic servants into urban areas.
Children and teenagers are exploited in the growing sex tourism industry in urban areas.
Individuals seeking opportunities abroad are susceptible to ever-expanding fraudulent
employment agencies that are trafficking-fronts.
Pornography is often made of children being sexually abused.
Children are forced to perform live internet sex acts.
Causes of Human Trafficking in the Philippines:
Militant groups
Armed conflicts
Gender inequality
Sex mores or standards
Community and cultural judgments of women
High rate of sex crimes and violence against women
Weak anti-trafficking laws and inadequate enforcement of trafficking laws
Poor economic development
Lack of sustainable infrastructure
Lack of interoperability
Low education levels
Few sustainable job opportunities for women
Lack of child care for single-parent families or two-income families
Limited awareness of trafficking and socio-economic precipitators

Solutions to Reduce/Eliminate Trafficking in the Philippines and Support Trafficking

Target and eliminate organized criminal enterprises and criminal gangs
Establish and enforce fair labor standards
Poverty and economic disparity reduction
Proper law enforcement training
Legislature, law enforcement and judicial cooperation
Better education
Gender equality
More social institutions and programs
NGOs equipped to provide victim assistance for ALL types of trafficking
Increase arrests and promote prosecutorial efforts
Harsh trafficking penalties
Eradicate sex tourism
Increase trafficking awareness: what is it? how to avoid being a victim? who are
perpetrators? what are the resources for trafficking survivors? how to keep children safe?
The Department of State claims in their 2013 Trafficking in Persons report that the Philippines
facilities were generally inadequate to address the specific needs of trafficking victims, and at
times, shelters lacked the space necessary to accommodate the influx of victims following largescale law enforcement operations. Specialized services for male victims were inadequate; this
led to male victims, including children, being released from protective care prematurely and
negatively affected their rehabilitation and reintegration Most local social welfare officers,
however, remain inadequately trained on how to assist rescued trafficking victims, particularly
children and victims of labor trafficking. Consequently, the Department of State asserts that the
Philippines needs to expand their shelter resources, create more assistance programs for the
growing number of male trafficking victims, identify more victims, establish programs that
prevent trafficking and commercial sex acts.

The Philippines is situated in the center of many highly trafficking countries:

I found myself dancing at a club at the age of 11 I have had different kinds of customers,
foreigners and Filipinos. I tried suicide but it didnt work so I turned to drugs. I want to die before
my next birthday. Poppy, Ron OGrady The Child and the Tourist.


As a service provider, you may have an opportunity to identify and assist a victim of human
trafficking. These are some red flags:

Seems anxious, fearful or paranoid. Avoids eye contact.

Tearfulness or signs of depression.
Unexplained bruises or cuts or other signs of physical abuse.
Appears to be in a relationship with someone who is dominating.
Never is alone and/or always has someone translating or answering questions on their behalf.

Not in control of their own finances.

Presents with secrecy or unable to answer questions about where they live.
Inconsistent details when telling their story.
Has no identification such as a license, passport or other ID documents.
Inability to leave their job or residence. Says they cannot schedule appointments.
Being a recent arrival to the United States and does not speak English.
Is under 18 and providing commercial sex acts. Or at any age unwillingly providing commercial sex acts.
Is afraid of law enforcement or receiving help from an outside entity.

If you can find an opportunity to get he/she alone, ask him/her the following screening questions:

Can you leave your job or house when you want?

Where did you get those bruises or is anyone hurting you?
Do you get paid for your employment? Is it fair? How many hours do you work?
(If foreign national) How did you get to the U.S. and is it what you expected? Are you being forced to do anything you don't

want to do?
Are you or your family being threatened?
Do you live with or near your employer? Does your employer provide you housing? Are there locks on doors or windows

from outside?
Do you owe debt to anyone?

If you suspect they are a victim of human trafficking,take the following actions:

Ask the person if you can help them find a safe place to go immediately.
If they need time, create an action plan with them to get to a safe place when they are ready.
Call and make a report to the human trafficking hotline at 1.888.3737.888. The hotline has language capabilities, so any

individual can call directly if they choose.

If you need more guidance, you can call and talk through the case with USCCB Anti-trafficking program staff at

The concept may be problematic in the Philippines but human rights are a vital component of
most modern democracies.
Human rights allow a person to live with dignity and in peace, away from the abuses that can be
inflicted by abusive institutions or individuals. But the fact remains that there are rampant
human rights violations around the world.
To further promote the importance of human rights in the Philippines, December 4 to 10 of each
year is marked as National Human Rights Consciousness Week viaRepublic Act No. 9201.
But do we really know our human rights? Rappler answers some key questions:
1. What are human rights?
Human rights, according to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, refers to norms that aim to
protect people from political, legal, and social abuses.
The United Nations (UN) defines human rights as universal and inalienable, interdependent and
indivisible, and equal and non-discriminatory.
Universal and inalienable:
Human rights belong to all and cannot be taken away unless specific situations call for it.
However, the deprivation of a person's right is subject to due process.
Interdependent and indivisible:
Whatever happens to even one right fulfillment or violation can directly affect the

Equal and non-discriminatory:

Human rights protect all people regardless of race, nationality, gender, religion, and
political leaning, among others. They should be respected without prejudice.
Human rights can also be classified under individual, collective, civil, political, economic and
social, and cultural.
2. What laws or legal documents ensure the human rights of Filipino citizens?
The rights of Filipinos can be found in Article III of the 1987 Philippine Constitution. Also called
the Bill of Rights, it includes 22 sections which declare a Filipino citizens rights and privileges
that the Constitution has to protect, no matter what.
Aside from various local laws, human rights in the Philippines are also guided by the UN's
International Bill of Human Rights a consolidation of 3 legal documents including the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights (ICCPR), and the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural
Rights (ICESCR).
As one of the signatories of these legal documents, the Philippines is obliged to recognize and
apply appropriate laws to ensure each rights fulfillment.
This is not always the case, however, as the Philippine Constitution lacks explicit laws to further
cement specific human rights in the local context.
For example, the Right to Adequate Food may be included in the UNDR but it is not explicitly
indicated in the Philippine Constitution. Thus the government cannot be held responsible if this is
not attained. (READ: Zero Hunger: Holding govt accountable)
3. Who oversees the fulfillment and protection of human rights in the Philippines?
Human rights are both rights and obligations, according to the UN. The state or the government
is obliged to respect, protect, and fulfill these rights.
Respect begets commitment from state that no law should be made to interfere or curtail the
fulfillment of the stated human rights. Protecting means that human rights violations should be
prevented and if they exist, immediate action should be made.

NO TO LUMAD KILLINGS. CHR condemns the violations of the rights of Lumads.

In the Philippines, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) primarily handles the investigations
of human rights violations. However, it has no power to resolve issues as stated in the Supreme
Court decision in 1991.
Established in 1986 during the administration of President Corazon Aquino, CHR is an
independent body which ensures the protection of human rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.
Aside from investigations, it also provides assistance and legal measures for the protection of
human rights guided by Section 18 Article XIII of the Philippine Constitution.
4. Do criminals or those who break the law still enjoy human rights?

Criminals or those in conflict with the law are still protected by rights as indicated in many legal
documents such as the Philippines Criminal Code and UNs Standard Minimum Rules for the
Treatment of Prisoners.
Specific human rights, however, may be removed, provided they go through due process
In 2002, the CHR issued an advisory after the debate sparked by Davao City Mayor Rodrigo
Duterte's statement during a crime summit in Manila. He said extra-judicial or summary killings
remain "the most effective way to crush kidnapping and illicit drugs."
However, according to the CHR, summary or extra-judicial executions of criminals or suspects are
prohibited under the Philippine Constitution as these violate several sections such as Article III
Section 1, which states that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due
process of law nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws."

'WHEEL OF TORTURE.' A wheel used allegedly by Binan police to torture inmates. Photo courtesy:
It added that summary executions as a violation of human rights are more explicit in Article II of
Section 11, which provides that the State values the dignity of every human person and
guarantees full respect for human rights."
Meanwhile, Section 19 of the Bill of Rights clearly states that any punishment against a prisoner
or detainee shall be dealt with by law and through due process. It also says that no cruel,
degrading or inhuman punishment may be inflicted even death.
5. How does the Philippines fare when it comes to human rights violations?
In a Rappler piece, Human Rights Watch (HRW)s Asian Division researcher Carlos H. Conde wrote
that President Benigno Aquino III had more rhetoric than concrete action despite his explicit
human rights commitments in 2010.
Human rights violations extrajudicial killings, torture, enforced disappearances, and human
trafficking, among others may have decreased in the past years but cases still exist and remain
unsolved, according to Human Rights Watch.
In its 2015 World Report, the international group lauded the efforts to resolve these violations.
These include the arrest of retired army general Jovito Palparan in relation to the disappearance

and torture of two University of the Philippines students in 2006, and the peace agreement
between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, among others.
The recent issue over the killings and displacement of Lumads, however, has put the
governments way of handling human rights issues under the spotlight. (READ: A rare time a
human rights issue captivates PH social media)
Meanwhile, nearly 75,000 people filed for recognition as victims of human rights violations during
the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos in 2014. Martial Law is regarded as the dark
years from 1972-1986 due to a huge record of abduction and torture, among others, under the
dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos.