The relationship between exploiting of poverty and funding by NGO’s

I was busy reading an article regarding child trafficking as Cebu was named the 5th worst location in the Philippines for child trafficking back in 2005 (yes I was reading an old article and summary). Although the problem of the sex trade was the main flow of the document it was a bit of a twist on the reason for writing this article as Tommy Osmena then mayor said

“I really don’t know how to comment on that because I don’t know what happen in other places. But you know what is strange is that you have to be careful with some NGOs because they do that for assistance from foreign governments,” said when sought for comment in a news conference.

“We don’t promote sex tourism here. I had long asked our NGO counterparts in the local development council to see what we can do in attacking the problem in Sanciangko and Kamagayan. I know police action can’t solve the problem. It’s too embedded,” Osmena said.

On the other hand, Bullecer pointed out there is no such thing as sex trade in the city. He said there are lewd shows during nighttime, 80 percent are happening at the Mactan area.

Also, Bullecer told reporters earlier that he has doubts on the probity of the data released by non-governmental organizations that composed Catch- Wise as the study is funded by a member of the European Commission.

A German-based foundation, Karl Kubel Stiftung, reportedly finances Catch-Wise in implementing its project called “Capacity building program for civil society organizations and local government units to prevent child and woman trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation.”

Bullecer said it is very clear the consortium just wanted to make money out of the supposed study because this will then become basis for release of foreign funds.

Further, Bullecer said the European Commission just wants to create a scenario in order to justify the legalization of prostitution, sex trade, and the use of contraceptives here in the long run.

Based on the Catch-Wise report, the Philippines is not only considered fourth among the nine nations with 60,000 to 100,000 children in prostitution but also identified as source transit and destination country for internationally trafficked persons.

The report stipulated that Filipino women are trafficked across the international boarders to destinations in Asia, Europe, Middle East and North America and many of them are forced to work in the sex industry.

It further revealed that of the approximately 7.4 million overseas Filipino workers in many parts of the world, it is estimated that 1. 62 million of them are irregular migrants and many are suspected to be victims of trafficking.

The report mentioned that in the Visayas, Cebu has often been the destination point of internal and domestic trafficking of children as young as 11 to 17 years old from Samar, Bohol, Leyte, Negros, and Bacolod and is also considered as one of the top five areas for child prostitution and sex tourism. — Cristina C. Birondo and Jasmin R. Uy

What interested me on the article was that it was pushing the fact that NGO’s are exploiting the situation for funding. But also like anyone who lives here we know the sex industry even now is alive and kicking. Most of the sex workers are brought from provincial areas promised a job and future and then forced into the sex trade. I don’t think the NGO’s can do a lot with such a system as it needs strong support from politicians and police who are often partly engrained in the society as the incomes from the sex trade can be literally thousands of pesos a day which makes paying off people very easy to do and if your looking at overseas trafficking its a lot more money. Its also the fact its good money and less jail time that the sex industry has boomed in the UK and Western Europe as a shift happened from serious crime groups from drugs to prostitution as the risks for them are a lot less.

What can an NGO do? I think its a trade that won’t change overnight and most western countries like the Philippines ignore to some degree. There is little NGO’s could do except maybe offer safe houses for those seeking to change their lives. Everything else may be a loss.