Philippine Standard time

The Filipino Children in Prostitution: A Worst For

The intention of the research is to present the issue of children in prostitution within the perspective of its strong trade foundation as well as some of its social bases involving gender relations and the unequal relation between parents and children. It aims to illustrate the wide range of circumstances of those children in prostitution: and to draw attention to the economic and social bases that sustain the sector. Children involved in prostitution, are variously labeled in the paper as “prostituted children,” “child prostitutes” and “child sex workers”. Child prostitution is considered as a worst form of child labour due to the long hours, low rewards, deprivation of childhood development opportunities, lack of love and affection. Children suffer traumatic experiences – physically, developmentally, socially and psychologically. The children are vulnerable to a variety of problems, such as distorted sense of values and a negative outlook of people or of life in general. Statistics on child prostitution is difficult to obtain as prostitution is an issue that is unspoken of though it is becoming an accepted, if not legal trade in our society. The study observes that child prostitution continues because of (1) globalization that contributes to the further widening of gap between the rich and the poor, with the latter increasingly unable to cope with the rising cost of basic commodities; (2) poverty which pushes children to enter the sex trade to earn a living; (3) natural and man-made disasters including armed conflict, thus making them vulnerable, when they are taken out of their places where they earn living, to sex slavery/prostitution; (4) weak family support which pushes children suffering from parental neglect and abuse in the home to engage in prostitution; (5) sex tourism, lures children to commercial sex; and, (6) socio-cultural values, beliefs and practices that perpetuate the normalization of prostitution as an alternative activity. The belief that young people should be subservient in the family thus making them believe that “making money” by selling body won’t matter. (IPC 1988) The review notes that more of the past studies on child prostitution however would consider prostitution more as a trade. Development workers who still think and work within the “abuser-victim” dichotomy actually miss out a lot on advocacy, policy and programme opportunities. Given the above, the study stresses the importance of a study of the baseline situation of children in prostitution in the Philippines. These research studies should be undertaken and disseminated in the local language and conscious effort should be pursued in communicating the information to children. The family as the immediate environment of children should be strengthened. Programs to eliminate or fight prostitution should take into account the perspective of children and their families, and should be based on the principle of “best interest of the child” and on a sound understanding of the complexities of their situation. Lastly, action/programs should complement other approaches and not be confined to one type of intervention. Examples may include anti-poverty measures, public awareness raising, education, psychosocial interventions, policy influencing and advocacy. The study further recommends considering children involved in prostitution as a sector to be prioritized for its Time-Bound Programme.


This publication has been cited time(s).