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Country information: Philippines



300 000 square kilometres


97,98 million (July 2009)

Capital city

Manila (1,7 million inhabitants, metropol region: 19,2 million inhabitants 2008)

Official language

Filipino and English

Gross national product per capita

US$ 3.300 (2008)

Population growth

1,96 % (2009)

Life expectancy

71,1 years (2009)

Infant mortality

20,6 per 1 000 live births (2009)

Rate of illiteracy

7,4 % (2005)




Individual and mass tourism play an important role for the Philippines and represent an important source of foreign earnings. According to UNWTO in 2005, approximately 2,3 million guests visited the country and brought 1,7 billion Euro into the country. The largest group of tourists 20 per cent - came from the US, followed by Japan, Korea and Hong Kong. Annually, around 88,000 tourists come from Western Europe, 41,000 of those from Germany. There are government plans to expand the tourism sector further in the near future. Tourists come mainly from North America, Australia and Western Europe.


Commercial sexual exploitation of children in tourism

In recent years, numerous bars and discotheques have been opened on the Philippines, among other things as a result of the increase in tourism. At the same time, there has also been an increase in prostitution and increasing numbers of abductions and trafficking in humans.

The Philippines are regarded as a "traditional" country for child sex trafficking According to reliable estimates of CSEC, there are 300,000 to 500,000 prostitutes on the Philippines, of which 75,000 to 100,000 are minors. Just in the metro area around the capital Manila 20,000 young victims of sexual axploitation are estimated. The Philippines thus ranks fourth in the world for child prostitution.

There are various reasons for this. Apart from the demands of some tourists, an important role is also played by the desperate financial situation poor people find themselves in, made worse by the economic crisis in Asia. More and more children are forced into prostitution in order to earn enough to survive. There have even been newspaper reports of children prostituting themselves in order to get clean drinking water. There is a widely-held belief that children become infected with HIV less easily. For the children the consequences can be fatal. Their immune systems are often already weakened by the effects of poverty, and risk of infection is particularly high as a result of forced sexual intercourse with adults, because in addition to harmful psychological effects, they frequently suffer severe physical injury.


The countries of Southeast Asia have a very high number of victims of child prostitution. According to UNICEF approximately one million children are forced to prostitution.


Prostitution is illegal in the Philippines, which was also the first Asian country to introduce a law against child abuse. In 1995, Senator Ernesto Herrera proposed a law under which anyone forcing children into prostitution or abusing a child under the age of twelve could be punished with a prison sentence of 30 years or the death penalty, which was passed in 1996. In an earlier piece of legislation from 1992, it became a punishable offence for a tourist to take a local child to their hotel room. The law describes prostitutes below the age of 18 for the first time as victims of abuse. This harder approach is also being reflected gradually in criminal prosecutions. Cases in which tourists are charged, and convicted, of child abuse are becoming increasingly common. The Philippines ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child on August 21, 1990, and has undertaken to protect children against all forms of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse.


Anyone observing a case of child abuse should report this to the tour operator, the tour guide and/or the hotel manager. Some police have been trained by colleagues from Great Britain in dealing with the victims of sexual violence, and the police, but also the embassies and non-governmental organisations will follow up cases reported to them.


HIV / Aids

With the spread of prostitution, there are also fears of an increase in the frequency of HIV and AIDS. According to estimates by UNAIDS and the World Health Organisation, in 2007 about 8.300 Filipinos were infected with HIV, including 2.200 women. How many children were infected, could not be estimated. In the same year, less than 200 Filipinos died following infection with HIV.


Local Contacts


Terre des Hommes Co-ordination Philippines

Ms. Pilgrim Bliss Guasa

240 MacArthur, Highway.

Matina, Davao City


Phone +63-82-299 2563

Fax +63-82-299 2563



Visayan Forum Foundation Inc.

No 18, 12th Avenue

Brgy. Socorro, Murphy, Cubao

1109 Quezon City, Philippines

Tel: +63 2 709-0711

Fax: +63 2 421-9423



ECPAT - Philippines

(End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and the Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes - Philipinnes)

Ms. Dolores Alforte

143 Anonas Extension Sikatuna Village, Diliman, Quezon City 1101


Phone : +63 2 920 8151

Fax : +63 2 929 9642



Preda Foundation

Upper Kalaklan

Olongapo City 2200, Philippines

Phone: +63 47 223 9629

Fax: +63 47 222 5573

Email: or



UNICEF Philippines

P.O. Box 1076

Makati Central Post Office

1250 Makati City Philippines 1200

Phone: +632 901 0100

Fax: +632 892 8126






State and society

The Philippines is a presidential republic. Head of state and of government is the directly elected President, with a Congress as the legislature. It has been independent since 1946. The period between 1965 and February 1986 was marked by the dictatorial rule of President Ferdinand Marcos, who neglected the development of the country while enriching himself. A people's movement developed against Marcos. In 1998 a human rights' agreement between the government and communist rebels ended a guerrilla war that had been going on since 1972 and had cost 100 000 lives. Conflicts still continue between the army and Moslem rebels fighting for independence.


More than a quarter of the population is still below the poverty line, and in rural areas the figure is two-thirds. The loudly proclaimed agricultural reform has not yet led to a more equitable distribution of land. More than 6 million Filipinos, half of them women, work abroad because they find no secure employment at home. Politicians aim to make the country fit for the world market, and exports, infrastructure developments and tourism are being promoted.


The Philippine population consists of 70 per cent young Indonesians, 10 per cent old-Indonesians and Negritos (Aetas), 10 per cent Chinese, 5 per cent Indians as well as Europeans and Arabs. Four-fifths of the population are Roman Catholics, some 3.5 per cent are Moslems.


Schooling is compulsory between the ages of six and twelve years. About two-thirds of the children go on to secondary education, and one third attend college or university. The high levels of education are reflected in the low level of illiteracy of only five per cent.



One third of the area of the country is used for farming and forestry. The Philippines exports sugar cane, coffee, bananas, and pineapples. In addition to important food and textile industries, chemical industry, cement production and electrical engineering also play an important role in the economy, which is closely linked to the economy of the United States. A programme begun in 2000 is intended to bring about economic growth, but the rural poor and the unemployed in the towns and cities have not yet benefited from the modest improvements.