Philippines

The Philippines Project: The end of a journey

Thumbnail image for The Philippines Project: The end of a journey 2 March 2012

In January I opened my laptop at a gate lounge in Sydney airport and described what I thought I had in store for the following few weeks. What happened between now and then was an overwhelming project of first-hand research, extensive documentation and quite an emotional roller-coaster: a very personal investigation into a dark trade. [...]

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Special SBS report: Child sex tourism in the Philippines

Thumbnail image for Special SBS report: Child sex tourism in the Philippines 2 March 2012

The opening of the Clark airbase and Subic Bay naval base just three hours north of the capital Manila created the designated ‘sex hubs’ of Angeles and Olongapo City that exist today. At its height in the 1970s and 1980s, tens of thousands of US officers roamed the area, using it as their playground. Fr [...]

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The Philippines project: Maria’s story

Thumbnail image for The Philippines project: Maria’s story 1 March 2012

“They knew how old I was. That I was just 13 years old… but that’s what they wanted. Children that young.” *Maria is one the bravest people I’ve ever met. I was introduced to her by one of the organisations I visited. She was 15 years old when she was rescued from a casa. She’d [...]

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The Philippines Project: Stopping the cycle of exploitation with Talikala

Thumbnail image for The Philippines Project: Stopping the cycle of exploitation with Talikala 1 March 2012

“They have very low self-esteem… they’re called dirt of the society, good-for-nothing children.” The saddest fact about sex-trafficking is that its victims are left so damaged and stigamatised, the only place they are able earn income, even once they escape being sexually exploited, is to return to it. The aim of the staff and volunteers [...]

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The Philippines Project: Empowering communities with Child Alert

Thumbnail image for The Philippines Project: Empowering communities with Child Alert 26 February 2012

“Recruitment is very rampant… the recruiters are going house to house while the van is waiting.” There are many uncontrollable factors which contribute to the problem of sex-trafficking in the Philippines, but Child Alert believes that the key to addressing the problem lies in capacitating local Filipino communities. The anti-trafficking and child rescue organisation operates [...]

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The Philippines Project: Ensuring responsible tourism with ECPAT

Thumbnail image for The Philippines Project: Ensuring responsible tourism with ECPAT 15 February 2012

“When we talk about sex tourism we are not talking about something that happens in a vacuum. We’re talking about business, we’re talking about people, we’re talking about jobs, we’re talking about children. Tourism involves the community.” ECPAT Philippines is a part of international network of organisations working to end child prostitution and trafficking. In [...]

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The Philippines Project: A night with the Buklod Center

Thumbnail image for The Philippines Project: A night with the Buklod Center 7 February 2012

“Our study found that 80% of women working in these clubs are already victims of abuse.” The Buklod Center exists to empower women about their rights. It’s an advocacy and support network, shelter and training organisation for former and current female bar and club workers in Olongapo City. The group maintains a close relationship with [...]

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The Philippines Project: The Preda Foundation

Thumbnail image for The Philippines Project: The Preda Foundation 31 January 2012

“All those guys coming here from Australia, when they go back to Australia they don’t leave behind their bad habits and desire for sex with minors and children… The Australian people have to take action.” Fr Shay Cullen isn’t afraid to tell it as he sees it. The Catholic priest speaks fluent Filipino and has [...]

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The Philippines Project: Midnight preparations

Thumbnail image for The Philippines Project: Midnight preparations 27 January 2012

The Philippines brings to mind a colourful collection of scenes and sounds. Crowing roosters greeting you in the morning, laughing around the table as a hungry party ‘attacks’ delicious freshly prepared meal laid on the table, long drives through highways which wind their way along vast rice fields and past bustling mega shopping centres. Since [...]

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The Philippines Project: An introduction from Gate Lounge 57

Thumbnail image for The Philippines Project: An introduction from Gate Lounge 57 24 January 2012

The child sex trade in the Philippines is one of the biggest in the world. An estimated 100,000 children from the most impoverished regions in the country are sold to the industry every year. For those like myself, who have a fierce attachment and love for the country, this truth is hard to swallow. The [...]

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