My latest visit to the Philippines led me to this above-captioned hypothesis. As I walked the streets of Metro Manila, I saw children begging from passers-by and from motorists stuck in traffic. I saw adults with their children sleeping on sidewalks, wearing filthy and tattered clothes. They stink from afar, obviously unable to take a shower for many days, maybe even months. To say that these people live in poverty is an understatement. They live no better than stray dogs. It’s a big mystery where they go for their toilet needs.
These people are the poorest of the poor. They would grab every opportunity for their next meal, even if they knew that they would die in the process. The proverbial “kapit sa patalim” (holding on to the blade of a knife) doesn’t seem to hurt them.

At first glance, President Duterte’s war on drugs might be noteworthy but the drug menace will continue to persist. Drug lords will keep on preying on vulnerable people to enrich themselves, thus there will be more drug addicts for Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) to arrest or kill, for police to shoot, plant guns and claim “nanlaban daw.” (Resisted arrest and fought back.)

Consider Colombia. The infamous Pablo Escobar is dead but the drug trade has remained over the years.

Colombia has a long history of violence. Most of the violence relate in some way to the illegal drug trade. In the past Colombia mainly grew and exported marijuana, but more recently has transferred their trade to the processing and shipping of cocaine and heroin. Rebel groups use the drug trade to fund their activities. It causes violence and weaken the Colombian government. The countries receiving the drugs are also seriously affected. Around 80% of the world’s cocaine comes from Colombia, resulting in violence worldwide.

Prostitution, like the illegal drug trade, is big business for organized crime. Crime syndicates receive a percentage of profits from smaller operators in both prostitution and drug dealing. This organized crime system emerged in its complete, modern form as a result of the prohibition against alcohol. Mobsters honed their craft importing bootleg liquor into the country and soon branched out into many other enterprises. Organized crime needed new enterprises to finance its continued existence and turned to activities like prostitution, drugs and gambling.

What brings about prostitution? Poverty has been identified as the primary driver of prostitution. Parents and relatives with no regular source of income breed and encourage prostitution to feed the family. Corrupt government officials tasked to enforce laws permit the conduct of illegal activities, either tacitly or explicitly, by extracting protection money from illegal businesses, including brothels.” (Philstar Global Lifestyle)

Last year, it was reported that Intercourse costs P800 to P1,500 depending on how pretty or how young the girl is. College students who sideline as prostitutes are paid P2,500 because they are more exclusive.

According to more recent reports, there are over a million Filipina prostitutes in the country. Sad statistics indicate that there are over 100,000 children engaged in the sex trade in the Philippines. © DMC

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