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Abstract

Background: Up to 2% of adolescents and young women are subjected to commercial sexual exploitation (CSE) in the Philippines, an economically poor country that earns considerable revenue from “sex tourists.” Earlier research, in the 1990s in Metro Manila, described the living conditions of adolescents whose CSE was influenced by family poverty, their so-called “sex work” becoming a major source of income for families left behind in rural and provincial areas of Luzon. Recent research (up to 2014) indicates that conditions for adolescents experiencing CSE have, if anything, worsened.

Methods: Following the original study, the researchers were able to offer scholarships with funds from a Canadian charity, which enabled 84 girls to leave “sex work,” and return to high school.

Results: Follow-up 18 years later showed that being able to return to normal life, was successful for at least 61 (73%) of the young women who researchers were able to trace.

Conclusions: We advocate vigorous efforts to prevent the recruitment and trafficking of adolescents into commercial sexual exploitation, and extend our comments to recent Canadian policy initiatives for adolescents experiencing CSE, since our original study was based on a Canada-Philippines comparison. In advocating the ‘universal living wage’ solution for avoidance of CSE, we argue that demonstration projects such as this can be important exemplars for global policy development.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.