By Ben O. Tesiorna
The NGO Talikala discloses that prostitution in Davao City is thriving and the victims are getting younger and younger.
Talikala, which offers support, advice, training, and counseling to women and girls who have been forced into the sex trade here in Davao, estimated that there are about 4,000 documented prostituted women in Davao City with the youngest victim just 9 years old.
Jeanette Laurel-Ampog, Executive Director of Talikala, said there is an observed 10% increase in the number of women in the prostitution trade compared to data from last year. She adds that about 4 out of 10 prostitutes are minors, with the average age of girls forced into prostitution being 16 years old.
Poverty is often cited as the victims' main reason for becoming involved in prostitution, with peer pressure not far behind.
Ampog says, "Many were persuaded by their classmates and friends. As they are living in poverty, they see the sex trade as something that can provide them with what they need most: money."
She adds that "this is supposed to be the time when they are thinking about their crushes. Instead, they are selling their bodies. These girls, these women, are putting their lives in danger.”
Talikala calls on the city government to look into the problem of prostitution, urging officials of the Department of Education to provide school children with a support and intervention system that prevents them from drifting into the sex trade.
Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, meanwhile, expressed alarm regarding the data presented by Talikala, adding that the City Social Services and Development Office along with the local command of the Philippine National Police should look into the claims and immediately do something about prostitution in the city.
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Pia Hontiveros, Chief Correspondent and anchor of Solar Network News and News.Ph, presents the Solar News and Current Affairs year-ender special: On the Cusp of Change. A deafening silence, not out of a loss for words but a grief that cannot be spoken, for thousands lost to a super typhoon ... A muted pain from a powerful tremor that violently shook the heart of the nation ... An unspeakable anger over pork barrel that fueled a political maelstrom ... These and other stories from the extraordinary challenging year that was.