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Street Children

Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery

Poverty drives the unsuspecting poor into the hands of traffickers

Published reports & articles from 2000 to 2025                     

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]

Description: Description: Description: Description: Philippines

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 d’Ivoire, 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   Check out a later country report here  and possibly a, full TIP Report here



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.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of Human Trafficking are of particular interest to you.  Would you like to write about Forced-Labor?  Debt Bondage? Prostitution? Forced Begging? Child Soldiers? Sale of Organs? etc.  On the other hand, you might choose to include precursors of trafficking such as poverty and hunger. There is a lot to the subject of Trafficking.  Scan other countries as well.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.


Check out some of the Resources for Teachers attached to this website.


Trafficking Of Women And Children

Judge Nimfa Cuesta Vilches, ExpertLaw Library, January, 2004

[accessed 12 February 2018]

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 destination.

NBI raises alarm on child-organ trafficking

ABS-CBN News Online, 24 Aug 2008

[accessed 16 December 2010]

[accessed 12 February 2018]

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 transplants.


*** ARCHIVES ***

3 people charged with leading a cultlike church that imported teenagers from the Philippines

Stephen Dinan, The Washington Times, 16 February 2020

[accessed 17 Feb 2020]

To immigration officials they were tourists. To the Kingdom of Jesus Christ church, they were “full-time workers,” ready to be sent out onto the streets to beg for money to keep church leaders living in luxury.

That’s the picture painted by investigators in a stunning new immigration prosecution out of California, where three people have been charged with leading a cultlike church that imported teenagers from the Philippines, lied to immigration authorities about why they were coming, then forced them into labor begging on the streets.

Those that did well were forced into sham marriages to keep them in the U.S., while those that failed to meet begging quotas were beaten and starved, escaped church members told investigators. Women were pressed into “night duty” — forced to have sex with church leaders.

CHR probes human trafficking in Pangasinan

Consuelo Marquez,, Manila, 7 July 2019

[accessed 8 July 2019]

In a statement, CHR spokesperson Jacquline de Guia said 34 Lumads escaped from Sual, Pangasinan, where they were forced to work at a fish pen for 15 hours a day without pay.

The CHR in coordination with police in Sual Municipal Police Station and the Social Welfare and Development Office of Pangasinan rescued another 17 Lumads, who were recruited to work in the Pangasinan-based fish pen.

2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Philippines

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 30 March 2021

[accessed 21 June 2021]


Reports of forced labor by adults and children continued, mainly in fishing and other maritime industries, small-scale factories, gold mines, domestic service, agriculture, and other areas of the informal sector (see section 7.c.). According to NGOs and survivors, unscrupulous employers subjected women from rural communities and impoverished urban centers to domestic service, forced begging, and forced labor in small factories. They also subjected men to forced labor and debt bondage in agriculture, including on sugar cane plantations and in fishing and other maritime industries. Trade unions reported that continued poor compliance with the law was due in part to the government’s lack of capacity to inspect labor practices in the informal economy.


Despite these efforts, child labor remained a widespread problem. Previous cases reported to the Labor Department focused on domestic services and agricultural sectors, notably in the fishing, palm oil, and sugar cane industries. Most child labor occurred in the informal economy, often in family settings. Child workers in those sectors and in activities such as gold mining, manufacturing (including of fireworks), domestic service, drug trafficking, and garbage scavenging faced exposure to hazardous working environments.

Freedom House Country Report

2020 Edition

[accessed 5 May 2020]


The Philippines is a source country for human trafficking, with some Filipinos taken abroad and forced to work in the fishing, shipping, construction, or other industries, or forced to engage in sex work. The country’s various insurgent groups have been accused of using child soldiers.

The legal minimum wage in the agricultural sector in some regions falls far short of what is necessary for a family to avoid poverty. Violation of minimum wage standards is fairly common. Children have been reported working as domestic laborers. There is a shortage of labor inspectors; authorities have acknowledged the problem but say they have limited funds to address it.

2017 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking, Bureau of International Labor Affairs, US Dept of Labor, 2018

[accessed 22 April 2019]

[accessed 5 May 2020]

Note:: Also check out this country’s report in the more recent edition DOL Worst Forms of Child Labor

[page 821]

Children, primarily girls, are trafficked domestically from rural communities to urban centers and tourist destinations for the purpose of domestic work and commercial sexual exploitation. (57; 34) Research indicates that the Philippines is the top global internet source of commercial sexual exploitation of children, where children are coerced into performing sex acts for live internet broadcast to paying foreigners and local Filipinos, which usually take place in small internet cafes, private homes, or windowless dungeon-like buildings commonly known as “cybersex dens.” (58; 59; 60; 61; 62; 34)

Child soldiering also remains a concern among non-government militias and terrorist organizations, predominately in the southern island of Mindanao. (8) In Marawi City, many children as young as age 7 were recruited, paid, and trained as fighters by the Maute Group, a terrorist organization linked to ISIS. Reports indicate that these children aided the Maute Group, including as fighters, during the Marawi City crisis in 2017, when ISIS-affiliated terrorists took over the city and captured civilian hostages, resulting in a battle with government forces for the city’s control. (36; 63; 37; 64) In addition, research suggests that the Abu Sayyaf Group, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, the Moro National Liberation Front, and the New People’s Army continue to recruit children in schools for use as human shields, cooks, and fighters. (6; 65; 66).


Art Jahnke, Bostonia, Winter-Spring 2015

[accessed 11 May 2015]

[accessed 15 June 2017]

Why did the FBI find so many victims of human trafficking in one heartland city? Because that’s 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 hotel’s 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.

That’s how their journey would end, they feared, with the entire village seeing the folly of their journey, the futility of their dreams.

Child Protection in the Philippines: A Situation Analysis

Jay Yacat, University of the Philippines, 2011

[Long URL]

[accessed 14 February 2022]

Enticed by the lure of employment in Metro Manila or abroad and pushed by grinding poverty in Mindanao, these victims are coerced or deceived into a variety of exploitative situations in the Philippines or abroad: bonded labour, prostitution or abusive domestic work. Others are exploited for illegal activities (like begging, illegal trade or adoption), organ trading, marital services or for armed conflict. The study also cites a DSWD report that from 1997 to 2002, there was an estimated 95 documented cases of child trafficking mostly from Region IX (Zamboanga Peninsula).In many cases, the victims are female and minors, as the rescue exemplified. The girl later told BSSD personnel she had been recruited to work for P9,000 a month as a waitress during the day and a karaoke attendant at night in a restaurant somewhere in Luzon. Witnesses said the girl had four other companions who managed to make the voyage to Manila.

Why the Philippines is still in US trafficking Tier 2 Watch List (for 2 years in a row)!

International Labour Organization, ILO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, 4 Nov 2010

[accessed 18 December 2010]

[accessed 12 February 2018]

IF IT’S 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 recruiter’s 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]

[accessed 12 February 2018]

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 to Daraga, 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

– Source:

[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 trio’s 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]


[accessed 5 May 2020]

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.

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]

[accessed 21 February 2019]

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 work.

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 Sapang Bato 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 Singapore."

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 Philippines.

DOJ chief, kidney recipient, wants organ trafficking outlawed

GMA News TV - 04/14/2008

[accessed 16 December 2010]

[accessed 12 February 2018]

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]

[accessed 26 September 2016]

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 Malaysia.

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.

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]

[accessed 12 February 2018]

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 girls—all minors—Ana 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 Filipino.

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 the Visayas 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]

[accessed 12 February 2018]

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 [PDF]

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 Macau.

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 12 February 2018]

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 day’s 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 visitor’s 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


[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$179,000-US_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 non-governmental 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 regions.

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 Gaña, 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 customers.

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 Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act, increasing to seven the total number of convictions since the law was passed in 2003.

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 group’s 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]

[accessed 21 February 2019]

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]

[accessed 12 February 2018]

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 [DOC]

Delia Jurado, The Freeman, February 16, 2005


[accessed 18 December 2010]

[accessed 12 February 2018]

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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.

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 [PDF]

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’

[page 22] PILOT PROJECT AGAINST TRAFFICKING IN WOMEN - 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 women’s 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 Development.

Philippines Government Launches a National Action Plan Against Trafficking in Human Beings

UN Information Service, UNIS/CP/398, VIENNA, 30 October 2001

[accessed 12 February 2018]

Main features of the National Action Plan include:

Early ratification of the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the Protocol against Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children;

New legislation: a special bill against trafficking in human beings and preparation of a compilation of relevant existing legislation;

Strengthened investigation and prosecution of trafficking cases through setting up specialized databases, strengthening of law enforcement units and improved police-prosecutor cooperation;

Training for law enforcers, prosecutors, social workers and frontline officers as well as staff of embassies and consulates;

Support for victims and the protection of witnesses in cases of trafficking in human beings;

A comprehensive public awareness campaign on the subject;

Continued inter-agency coordination;

Strengthened international cooperation, including forging bilateral and multilateral agreements; and

Intensified cooperation with the United Nations, including the Centre for International Crime Prevention, as well as other UN entities and Intergovernmental Organizations active in the fight against trafficking in human beings.

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]

SUMMARY OF THE REPORT OF THE VISIT OF THE SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR TO THE PHILIPPINES - 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 labour.

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 ...

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.


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 10 February 2020]

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

The Department of Labor’s 2004 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

U.S. Dept of Labor Bureau of International Labor Affairs, 2005

[accessed 16 December 2010]

Note:: Also check out this country’s report in the more recent edition DOL Worst Forms of Child Labor

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 People’s Army.

All material used herein reproduced under the fair use exception of 17 USC § 107 for noncommercial, nonprofit, and educational use.  PLEASE RESPECT COPYRIGHTS OF COMPONENT ARTICLES.  Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, "Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery - Philippines",, [accessed <date>]