Sex trafficking in the Philippines is human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation and slavery that occurs in the Republic of the Philippines. The Philippines is a country of origin and, to a lesser extent, a destination and transit for sexually trafficked persons.[1]

Filipino citizens, primarily women and girls, have been sex trafficked to the various provinces of the Philippines, as well as other countries in Asia[2] and different continents.[3][4] Some are trafficked using student, intern, and exchange program visas. Children[5][6][7][8] [4][9] and people in poverty[10][11] and with low education levels are vulnerable. Other vulnerable groups include indigenous peoples and those displaced by typhoons[6] and conflict and violence.[4] Sex trafficked victims are deceived[12] and forced into prostitution,[6] marriages,[11][7] pregnancies, and unfree labour.[4] Their documents, including passports, are often confiscated.[4] They are threatened[5] and tied or locked-up[8] and experience physical and psychological trauma.[4] Many suffer from post traumatic stress disorder and nightmares.[8] They contract sexually transmitted diseases from rapes,[8] and abuse, malnutrition, and poor living conditions,[13] including rooms with little ventilation,[14] are common.[4] Cybersex or online sex trafficking and victims being in pornography is a significant problem.[13][10][7][8] Sex trafficking victims are sometimes forced to perform sex acts on live webcams.[4][9] Some have been coerced into bestiality.[8] Traffickers use many different internet and social media sites and apps, as well as email, to lure victims.[4][11]

Officials and police have been complicit.[4] A number of traffickers are members of or facilitated by criminal syndicates.[6][4] Some government officials and workers, as well as foreigners, have profited from sex trafficking in the Philippines. The perpetrators are sometimes the victims' family members and friends.[9][7] Pedophiles travel to the country for child sex tourism.[14][4][7]

The scale of sex trafficking in the Philippines is difficult to know because of the dearth of data.[10] Corruption is pervasive.[3][4] The government has been criticized for poor anti-sex trafficking law enforcement in some areas and not providing enough victim protections and rehabilitation services.[3][6]

Cybersex trafficking

Main article: Cybersex trafficking

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) identified the Philippines as the global epicenter of cybersex trafficking.[15] The Office of Cybercrime within the Philippines Department of Justice receives hundreds of thousands of tips of videos and images of sexually exploited Filipino children on the internet. The Philippine National Police, along with its Women and Children Protection Center (WCPC), Philippine Internet Crimes Against Child Center (PICACC),[16] Philippine InterAgency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT, Department of Justice (Philippines), and Department of Social Welfare and Development[17] fight cybersex trafficking in the country. Rancho ni Cristo in Cebu is a shelter devoted exclusively to rehabilitating children of live streaming sexual abuse. Children in the shelter are provided food, medical care, counselling, mentoring and life skills training.[18]

'Juicy bars'

See also: United States Military and prostitution in South Korea

Filipino women and girls have been trafficked out the Philippines to South Korea and become sex slaves in 'juicy bars' that cater to military servicemen and contractors in United States Forces Korea.[19][20][21]

Non-governmental organizations

Destiny Rescue Pilipinas, an operational arm of Destiny Rescue International, rescues sex trafficked persons in the Philippines.[22][14]

The International Justice Mission (IJM) works to combat cybersex trafficking in the Philippines.[23][24][13]


  1. ^ "Philippines 2018 Trafficking in Persons Report". U.S. Department of State. Archived from the original on July 30, 2018. Retrieved July 30, 2018. As reported over the past five years, the Philippines is a source country and, to a lesser extent, a destination and transit country for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor.
  2. ^ "New ways to help Hong Kong's human trafficking victims". CN Monitor. October 22, 2015.
  3. ^ a b c "Philippines meets 'minimum standards' in eliminating human trafficking — US report". PhilStar Global. June 22, 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Philippines' fight against trafficking". CNN Philippines. September 23, 2016.
  5. ^ a b "SEA Games: foreign tourist surge to Philippines sees rising risk of sex trafficking". South China Morning Post. December 10, 2019.
  6. ^ a b c d e "Human trafficking prevalent in post-typhoon Philippines". Devex. January 2, 2014.
  7. ^ a b c d e "Victims of human trafficking in PH spike to over 700,000 – Global Slavery Index". UNTV. December 6, 2018.
  8. ^ a b c d e f "Victims endure lives degraded by traffickers". CNN. May 16, 2013.
  9. ^ a b c "Facebook used to kidnap girls for sex slaves". Standard-Examiner. October 29, 2012. Archived from the original on July 29, 2020. Retrieved April 16, 2020.
  10. ^ a b c "Philippines targets cybersex trafficking but young victims are often left in limbo". South China Morning Post. May 6, 2019.
  11. ^ a b c "UN envoy warns about human trafficking in PH". Rappler. November 9, 2012.
  12. ^ "3 minors rescued from human traffickers in Bulacan". Rappler. June 23, 2013.
  13. ^ a b c "Cyber-sex trafficking: A 21st century scourge". CNN. July 18, 2013.
  14. ^ a b c "Saving child sex workers". Rappler. December 29, 2019.
  15. ^ "Senator warns of possible surge in child cybersex traffic". The Philippine Star. April 13, 2020.
  16. ^ "Global taskforce tackles cybersex child trafficking in the Philippines". Reuters. April 15, 2019.
  17. ^ "12 minors rescued in Butuan City cybersex den". SunStar. May 22, 2020.
  18. ^ "'We didn't have much to eat': Poverty pushes some kids towards paid sex abuse in the Philippines". CNA. July 9, 2019.
  19. ^ "USFK video links 'juicy bars' with human trafficking". Stars and Stripes. December 20, 2012. Archived from the original on March 26, 2021. Retrieved April 27, 2020.
  20. ^ "Seoul: Filipinas forced into sex trade with foreigners and US soldiers". Asia News. January 1, 2009.
  21. ^ "USFK: Troops cannot pay for the companionship of "juicy girls"". Military Times. October 30, 2014.
  22. ^ "Destiny Rescue International". Destiny Rescue. 2023.
  23. ^ "IJM Seeks to End Cybersex Trafficking of Children and #RestartFreedom this Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday". PR Newswire. November 28, 2016.
  24. ^ "Child sex abuse live streams rising at 'alarming rate' amid surge in 'cybersex trafficking'". The Independent. November 16, 2017.