There are an estimated 784,000 people living in modern slavery in the Philippines (GSI 2018). Men, women and children are subjected forced labour and sex trafficking both within the country and in destination countries. 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. Rising internet usage rates, the availability of mobile phones and poverty has fostered online child sexual exploitation.
When Cassie was 12, a family friend took her to Manila promising to help her reach her dreams. She was forced to perform sexual acts in front of a computer. Customers all over the world would pay to watch her. IJM discovered Cassie’s story 4 years later and helped rescue her and six other victims from the house. Today, Cassie and the other children are safe at an aftercare shelter. Cassie calls this her second home.
When first time I met my recruiter, he’s telling me that “Ah, Manila is very nice,” he says “so I can wear nice clothes”. And then he taking care of me. He told me that he can help me to reach all my dreams.
First time in Manila, it was very happy because there’s lots of buildings, you wear nice clothes, you have your own money, you can stay in a nice house, so Manila is very nice compared to my place.
We are six victims inside of the house of my recruiter. My recruiter hurt me everyday when I do something bad that he didn’t like. Because he want every day. I need to follow him. but if I don’t follow him, he’s going to hurt me, to spank me, to slap me in the face in front of the people.
I really want to kill him. I really want to die that time, but I can’t. It feel very lonely for me, because I was very far from my family and I can’t tell them what happened to me, because I was very scared.
When they rescued us, it make me heal all the pain. It is in my second home I realise everything, that you don’t have to lose hope. If I see or if I hear there is a victim of human trafficking like us, I just want her to comfort her, and help her to move forward. And just fight for your rights. Because that’s the side where I stand now.
Narrative provided by IJM
Original narrative can be found https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EVNusLv0550