It was a little odd to find that the sex dens were being mentioned on the BBC website today but then again its a growing problem within the Philippines. The Philippines already has a sex industry here which when talking with locals about it they quickly blame the Americans using the Philippines for R+R after combat as it wasn’t a problem previously in the country according to the people I have talked to. It may have been in existence before but without a doubt the American troops and airmen moved it from a cottage industry to a multi million pound business. Although most of the industry seems to revolve around Luzon there are places scattered throughout the Philippines and most people who reside in a town or a village will know of prostitution being available. At the same time prostitution is illegal in the Philippines and the current trend of sex dens is actually seeing a steep rise in the number of under age girls working within the industry.
The BBC report today showed how its generally done and most people here for some time will agree its normally a family member who grooms the children for personal financial benefit. In the BBC’s case it was an aunt who told a 15 year old relative that she could work as a babysitter in Olongapo which was miles away from the girls home. Upon arriving the aunt quickly showed the girl how to dress up and act in front of a webcam. The girl and her friend who was soon recruited were then encouraged and carried out acts in front of the webcams for money including getting undressed. These girls were lucky enough to be rescued but its a growing problem here in the Philippines and one the Police and justice system are struggling to protect children.
The first problem people are facing is that because its on the internet people are spread all over the place and often the dens are difficult to find due to the nature of the enterprise. Hidden away in rented apartments or other locations where the landlords generally may not even be aware of what goes on as their main concern is the rent being collected and not prying too far. With the girls also being roped into the business there may even be children hidden away not leaving the buildings which would also make it difficult to source the dens existence. The only things standing out being the internet and computers yet how many houses have the internet these days? People are hiding behind proxy servers, not even here in the Philippines on top of the problems of locating the dens locally. The source may be the Philippines but this is an international problem that needs international support. The networks these people are using must have some form of payment systems that can be tracked for payments to the owners of the webcam sex industry and tight regulation or even complete blacklisting of websites and associated websites operated by people suspected or convicted of entering into the underage cyber sex industry as well as seizing their bank accounts and funds should be done. As should searching through the list of electronic transactions to track people who are paying for the use of these services. No easy solution but an international crackdown may be the only way to kerb it as finding the people on the ground is not so easy.