A NONGOVERNMENT organization helping prostituted women in Davao City has revealed Monday that more and more young girls are joining in the sex trade over the past months.
Jeanette Laurel-Ampog, executive director of Talikala, said the youngest of the 4000 documented prostituted women in Davao is only 9-year-old. She said 40 percent of the documented prostituted women are minors, a 10 percent increase from last year’s data.
The average age of women who were forced into prostitution in the city is 16, Ampog said.
“This is supposed to be the time when they are thinking about their crushes but it is just sad that instead, they are already selling their bodies,” said Ampong. “These girls, these women, are putting their lives in danger.”
Poverty, she said, is the main reason why women–and girls–are victimized by prostitution.
Most of the girls and women are from urban poor communities who were introduced into the sex trade by their classmates or friends who are prostituted girls themselves.
“They were convinced by their classmates and friends into working in the sex trade,” said Ampog. “As they are living in poverty-stricken lives, they found sex trade as something that can provide them with what they need–and that is money.”
Prostituted girls earn between P1,500 and P2,500 for every client.
Talikala conducted a study among prostituted women and found out that most of them were victims of molestations themselves. At least 90 percent of the documented prostituted women in Davao were even victims of incest.
“They experience shame and suffer from it, thinking that no one is there to support them,” said Ampog. “The society generally discriminates against abused women. These girls think there is nothing left for them anymore, not even love.”
Education and alternative livelihood
Ampog’s group said the rise of girls forced into prostitution is something that the government must look into. The Department of Education, Ampog said, must provide children with a support system that they will be prevented from working in the sex trade.
The government, Ampog said, must also provide prostituted women with alternative sources of livelihood–that they will be able to provide for the needs of their families.
“The alternative livelihood should be compatible with the emotional status of these women and the other factors such as their readiness and support service,” she said. | NewsDesk