Growing concern over child prostitution, cybersex hubs: NGO

A pro-women and children non-government organization based in Davao revealed that there are 93 young women engaged in prostitution based on its January to June 2019 case study.

Speaking through its advocacy program officer Sarah Jane C. Escabarte, Talikala Inc., an organization working for women and children’s rights, said the number does not include unreported cases.

Escabarte added that Talikala has recorded 160 victimized and exposed cases of online sexual abuse and exploitation in Davao City from March to May 2019.  She cited that cyberprostitution is still a challenging problem to monitor. Despite of the passing of the Cybercrime Law, law enforcers are still having a hard time figuring how to track cybersex hubs in the city.

Escabarte said that based on the information they gathered from the child victims, the current trade price on the streets start at one hundred fifty pesos to two hundred pesos for oral sex while the pick-up price starts at five hundred to one thousand. She also said that in three-year term, the youngest child in prostitution is a 9 year-old girl.

Factors of children in prostitution

“Ang main factor ana kay poverty. Isa pud ka factor, kung naa silay history of sexual violence, sexual abuse,” Escabarte said.

Escabarte also said that the conditioning rate of pimps or ‘bugaw’ to the victims of sexual exploitation also pushed these women to enter the sex trade.

Dysfunctional family also caused children to enter prostitution Escabarte added. She said that the physical, economic and psychological abuse from quareling parents inside their home can motivate children to go out to survive and find prostitution as their immediate answer.

Talikala observed that the trend of children in prostitution has changed over the years. The numbers of Out of School Youth (OSY) in prostitution has declined while the In-School has increased.

“Kasagaran pud sa ilaha (children in prostitution) gusto mo skwela. Ang tendency ana, para ma suportahan nila ang ilang pag eskwela kay dili makaya pag suporta ilang mama ug papa, mo sulod na silag prostitution,” Escabarte said.

She also said that prostitution is the usual option of these children whenever they need to pay their tuitions, projects and other requirements to comply in school.

Government and non-government interventions

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the City Social Services and Development Office (CSSDO) has provided shelters and psychosocial interventions to children in prostitutions. The LGU of Davao also provides educational assistance to secure the children’s right to education.

Meanwhile, PNP and other partner organizations rescue these vulnerable children from prostitution and sexual exploitation. They also monitor the victims of trafficking and cybersex hubs in the city.

Non-government organizations like Talikala practice proper handling of cases of children in prostitution. The organization are giving psychosocial counselling, life skills training and children’s rights workshop to prepare these children to stand up against trafficking and sexual abuse.