The Philippines has long been a destination for those who desired to exploit children and young women for sexual purposes, and to a lesser extent, as transit country.

It is estimated that approximately one million men and women move abroad each year to obtain jobs. Over ten million Filipinos are living and working abroad, as citizens once could get the travelling expenses paid by the government.


In the destination countries, a large number of these emigrants are subjected to forced labor in the construction industry, the fishing industry, on farms and as domestic workers in Asia and the Middle East.

During domestic work, women are often subjected to sexual exploitation and abuse. Often, these women are kidnapped and trafficked into the sex trade in countries like Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong , South Korea, Japan, Germany and the Middle East.

Even professionally trained medics, engineers and mechanics are being subjected to forced labor and slavery-like contracts.

In the Philippines, the police cooperates with organized crime syndicates involved in trafficking through fraudulent recruitment agencies, where immigrated women gets trapped in the traffickers nets. Traffickers use local recruitment agencies, which are known to people in the rural areas, and the agencies take the opportunity to make money from exploiting their trust.

There are reports that organized crime groups have increased their use of students, trainees and visa programs for exchanges of students in 2010 and 2011, to circumvent regulations in the country and in the destination countries. There is also evidence that organized crime syndicates uses the Philippines as a transit country when young women are being taken from China to a third country.

The Philippines is not used a destination country for women trafficked from China, South Korea , Russia, eastern Europe and Moldavia, but there an extensive internal trafficking of young women and children from the countryside into the larger cities.

Both men women and children are subjected to extensive forced labor and slavery in all industries and in homes where threats, violence and outright disgusting living conditions as well as loss of wages are common.

31461_148315101995546_1467745367_n-400Identification documents are taken from the individual. Although prostitution is illegal, forced prostitution is common and visible, and violence can occur in the street in the city center, among shops carrying world-renowned brands.

Child sex tourism is a major problem in the country, with buyers coming from all over the world. Many buyers also carry out commercial sexual exploitation of children.

In 2009, it was estimated that about 2.2 million children aged 15 to 17 were working in the industry, with a majority in the most at-risk industries such as mining, pyrotechnic production and waste disposal.
Many of them also work as unpaid family members in countryside farms. There are also reports that families sold the children into domestic work or for sexual exploitation.

Several military groups are taking children with force and utilize them for military purposes.

MORO ISLAMIC LIBERATION FRONT (MILF), a separatist group, and the New People ́s Army (NPA) have been identified by the UN as organizations where children are used in armed conflict, both as combatants and non-combatants.

Trafficking blossoms in the Philippines, since the military and police collaborates with syndicates that are well established in the country since a long time. The people involved will get away with mostly anything illegal and exploits the high degree of poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, the large group of undocumented Filipinos and the high population growth.

The Authority has made significant efforts in 2010 to tackle human trafficking and corruption. There are a number of court cases being held, and at the same time a comprehensive education of the courts, the police and customs officers is underway.

The fact that the courts need to learn to interpret the laws causes great delays in handling the cases. An inefficient judiciary and widespread corruption continues to hinder the successful prosecution of traffickers.

There are reports saying that syndicate members and police officials are being warned before upcoming raids, and should they still be caught they bribe their way out with money or by use of sex trade.

Nowadays, the Philippines authorities collaborates to a large extent with several foreign authorities, to possibly put an end to the problems.

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Read more in the documentary trilogy “under the river”, the books are based on true stories.