By Antonio Colina IV
DAVAO CITY – Non-governmental organization (NGO) Talikala Inc. said the lack of better opportunities and in-migration increased the number of women in prostitution in Davao City.
From January 1 to October 4, 2017, Talikala Inc. executive director Jeanette Ampog said her office rescued a total of 255 women in prostitution, including 75 children, compared to 217 women for the entire 2016 – 12 years old was the youngest while 68 was the oldest.
Ampog blamed the increase on unfair distribution of employment opportunities among women and access to basic social services.
She said the rescued women would undergo counseling and seminar on prostitution and women’s rights.
The NGO, along with The Breakaway Media, produced “Gagmay’ng Tunob sa Kadalanan” (Little Footsteps on the Street), a documentary by Mark Henry, which was screened at the Cinematheque Davao on Thursday in time for the commemoration of the “No Prostitution Day” in the city.
The Proclamation No. 7 signed by then City Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte on October 2, 2005 declared October 5 of every year as a day of “No Prostitution” in the city, citing the policy of the city government to uphold the rights of women and children and the belief of their worth and dignity as human beings.
The documentary, produced by Talikala and The Breakaway Media, was about three minors – a 12-year old, 13-year old and 17-year old – who were forced into prostitution because of “extreme poverty, abuse and unwanted situations.”
“The three are just few of the 40-percent children from total number of 4,000 prostituted women and children in Davao City, one of Philippines’ top cities. While prostitution is illegal in the country, Philippines has an enormous sex-tourist industry,” said the synopsis on the film.
Janice Pinky Moreno, social section head of the Integrated Gender and Development Division (IGDD), acknowledged that the in-migration contributed to the increase of number of women in prostitution, with the city now becoming attractive to those looking for better economic opportunities.
She said they are relentlessly educating and advocating for women empowerment, most especially in the barangays, to put a dent on the growing number of victims venturing into prostitution.
She said City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio has allocated P25 million to fund a program called “Magnegosyo ta, Dai” in order to address the economic needs of the victims through social entrepreneurship.
She said the local program was previously supporting the “women in difficult circumstances,” or those women abused by their partners, but they are expanding it to cover the victims of the prostitution this year with support from City Agriculturist Office (CAO), City Veterinarian’s Office (CVO), City Social Services and Development Office (CSSDO), and City Cooperative and Development Office (CCDO).
He said CSSDO provides loan worth P10,000 while additional loan worth P20,000 to P50,000 from the CCDO.
Tags: Davao City, employment opportunities, increase, Lack of better opportunities in-migration increase no. of women in prostitution, Manila Bulletin, Non-governmental organization, Talikala Inc., women and children, women empowerment