Jing was enslaved in the Philippines, sent to the nation’s capital, Manilla, to become a domestic servant and receive education, which she was not given. Later she was sexually abused and prostituted from when she was 12 years old. It was only after getting seriously ill that she was able to return home. In the Philippines, women and children are subjected to sexual exploitation in brothels, bars, and massage parlours, online, as well as in the production of pornography. The Philippines is an international hub for prostitution and commercial sex tourism – a highly profitable businesses for organised criminal syndicates. The demand for sex with children among both local and foreign men has continued to fuel child sex tourism.
My name is Jing. I am 21 years old. I have four siblings, one older sister, an older brother and one younger sister and younger brother. When I was nine years old my father died. He was an electrician. After he died my family had no money, not even enough to continue to send us to school. My older sister, who was 11, was working for our neighbor at the time as a helper. Our neighbor told our mother that if she would send my sister and me to work in Cavite (Manila) as domestic helpers that our employers there would pay for us to go to school. My mother agreed and within a couple of weeks we were taken by boat to Manila by our neighbor.
Once we got to Manila I was taken to our neighbor’s daughter’s house and my sister was taken to our neighbor’s sister’s house. We were immediately sent to work in the house but our employers never sent us to school as we were promised. I didn’t like the job there and I didn’t get along with my employer.
After three years of working there I was sent to another house in Manila. I was hired by a Chinese man to be a ya-ya, I was 12-years-old. At first my work was okay but I was not allowed to leave the house. Soon the Chinese man’s son kept coming around and touching me in places that I didn’t like. It made me feel very uneasy. It was a hard time for me and I had just experienced my first “flow”. I could not tell anyone about him touching me because I could not leave the house. After a few months the son raped me in the bedroom. He took my virginity. I went to tell the mother of the house what had happened to me, but she only slapped me on the face and told me not to tell lies.
I then went to the father of the house but he just said, “Wala lang yan. Maliligo ka lang!” (No big deal, just take a bath!). After that the father began “selling” me to his friends. They would take me out to the clubs. At the end of the night the father would sometimes give me P150-200 to keep quiet. I tried to write to my sister to let her know what was happening to me and finally I succeeded and eventually met her in a park. I was too scared to leave with her, she said she didn’t know how to help me, and all my possessions and money were still in the house.
After three years I became very sick and the father took me to the hospital. The hospital said that there was nothing they could do to help my sickness. The father told me that I was of no use anymore and that I should go back home. I was 15-years-old. I returned home with my savings of about P3000. The money did not last long; it was all gone in three months. Now I am back living with my family.
As told to the International Organization for Migration in 2005