In the age of social media, young women more vulnerable to abuse

Mar. 08, 2020

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Many young women, especially within urban poor communities, are becoming more vulnerable to the “prevalent” cases of prostitution. This time, it happens through social media networks, said a non-governmental organization helping prostituted women and children on Sunday.

Prostitution in the city is not limited in personal transactions, but also now being done in Facebook and Messenger. Thisd makes it harder to monitor, Jeanette Laurel-Ampog, executive director of Talikala, Inc., said in an interview at the sidelines of 109th International Women’s Day protest at the Freedom Park, Davao City.

Talikala received several reports of this phenomenon. One such case was that of an 11-year-old “pimped” by a fellow young girl in exchange for cash.

Ampog said that they are in close partnership with the City’s Integrated Gender and Development Division to address this issue, as well as the aid of the authorities. “These cases are reported, not to arrest young women, but to help them and their families,” she said.

Ampog explained, however, that after a few months, young women would still go back to prostitution mainly due to poverty.

“The needs of these women are still not being addressed, such as education and sustainable livelihood for the families to be able to provide their daily needs,” she said.

“Talikala believes that we cannot separate the issue of women to the issue of landlessness, unemployment, demolitions, lack of basic social services, among others,” Ampog said.

Anti-poor policies

On the occasion of International Women’s Day on Sunday, women organizations led by Gabriela-Southern Mindanao Region held a protest action, expressing their frustration to the Duterte administration’s “anti-poor” policies.

“Filipino workers and peasants are experiencing an unprecedented level of poverty because of continuing price surges brought by the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law’s added taxes, continued practice of labor contractualization, low wages and salaries, and the Rice Tarrification Law (RA 11203) that lifts rice import limits and endangers the country’s rice production,” said Gabriela SMR chair Jean Lindo, in a statement.

The Gabriela-SMR added the administration’s Build Build Build infrastructure program “could further impinge on urban poor communities”.

The group revealed that the City’s coastal road project already demolished more than 200 houses and disrupted fisherfolk’s livelihood, while other infrastructure projects threaten more demolitions in other parts of the city.

“Hence, we are advancing the demands of working people for regular jobs, just and living wages, quality and accessible housing, and an economy that works for everyone,” Lindo said. (

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