AMID intensive efforts of various organizations to combat child trafficking, cases of prostitution in Davao City has continue to mount compared last year.
This was bared on Monday, October 3, by Talikala executive director Jeanette Ampog during the Kapehan sa Dabaw at SM City.
“Mas lumalaang cases ng child trafficking in terms of child prostitution kasi ang mga customers naghahanap ng mas bagong mukha (Child trafficking cases in terms of prostitution have worsen especially now that customers are looking for younger partners),” Ampog said.
Lack of employment and insufficient knowledge were some of the factors cited by the organization that steered the children to engage in this kind of business.
In a couple of years, the Davao-based foundation which primarily protects trafficking victims was appalled when they noticed that recruitment of children for commercial sexual exploitation has risen.
The foundation attributed the increase of rate to the higher number of children and women who sought their help for assistance.
“We have no [comparative] data. Ang amin lang, as long namakita namin na every seminar may bago (We based this on the new faces that appear in every seminar we conduct),” Ampog answered when asked about the specific figure of child trafficking cases that the foundation have encountered.
Ampog stressed that children were more marketable and profitable compared to matured woman because men preferred fresh looking, adding children are more vulnerable, cheaper to hire, and are less likely to demand higher wages or better working conditions.
The usual age of trafficked victims is ranging from 12 to 23 years old.
“Child trafficking ang pinakamalaki in terms of number sa amin,” Ampog added.
Based on their analysis, out of their 49 recruits, 30 were children who are below 18 years old.
To date, Talikala is helping more than 200 individuals under their programs who are now aspiring for a reformed life.
Last month, the foundation was alarmed when children as young as 12 to 13 years old attended their discussion which seeks to address the plight of children being trafficked.
Ampog shared when they asked victims about the profile of their customers, they would divulge that their customers are ranging from 22 years old to 40.
Ampog said their foundation has been providing the victims some recovery and reintegration services to assist dupes.
The recovery part includes trainings, awareness-raising about the rights of women and children.
The victims were given counseling, psycho-social therapy, visitations, medical and food assistance.
The reintegration service involves referral for livelihood and employment at different agencies. They also help the victims to return to school.
At present, Talikala has six social workers. They have separate workers for children and women because of the different handling strategies required in dealing with them.
“Challenge ito sa community in terms of detection on child prostitution kasi halos lahat hotspot na,” Ampog said referring to the possible platform of exploitation wherein technology advancement could be another venue.
Their focused now, Ampog said, is the early detection and prevention of these incidences to help the victims and potential victims.