The Philippines has long been a hub for “sex tourism”. Foreign men travel there for the purpose of buying girls and boys and young women are pushed into the sex trade by family pressure and economic desperation. Prostitution in the Philippines is illegal, although somewhat tolerated, with law enforcement being rare. Penalties range up to life imprisonment for those involved in trafficking, which is covered by the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003. Commercial sex with a child under the age of 18 is rape, however the sex trade continues.

The Philippines sex industry remains indirectly aided by legislative loopholes and apparent indifference from authorities, according to activists. Meanwhile, the government of President Rodrigo Duterte has devoted few resources to battling the Philippines’ sex industry even as it wages brutal crackdowns on the drug trade. Duterte, in fact, has appeared to invite foreign men to the country with the suggestion that young women are waiting.


In the Philippines, the need for help among children and young people who are exploited in prostitution, is enormous. They are almost always street children, and rarely is there a relative or any other person who cares about them. We at Talita are therefore starting a local organization in the Philippines that will focus on those in the picture, with the goal that in the future, we will be able to open and offer sheltered housing with Talita's rehabilitation program (adapted for children) to them.

We do all that we can today, and our colleagues on site distribute food several times a week to these children and young people who also receive clothing, hygiene items, teaching, conversational support and more to cover their most basic needs. Many of the children who come to the food distribution are boys. The local authorities do not count them as victims of abuse, just because they are boys. It is not believed by the local authorities that these boys can be used in prostitution, but now they get the support they so desperately need from our fantastic colleagues on site.


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