Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Cybersex: Philippine outsourcing boom

15 December 2010, 18:45

Olongapo - Girls and women acting out the sexual fantasies of online voyeurs around the world are part of a worrying offshoot to the Philippines' booming outsourcing industry, authorities say.

Cybersex dens are a growing problem in the impoverished Southeast Asian nation that has long struggled to curb child prostitution, according to law enforcers and social workers.

They say cyber pimps are offering cheap services via the internet in a seedy mutation of the country's sunshine outsource industry in which call centre work and other back-office operations are done for companies in richer countries.

In one recent police raid on a house in Olangapo city in the northern Philippines, five girls aged 14-18 and three women were found performing sex acts in front of web cameras for clients sitting at computers overseas.

"It's a lot like working for a call centre. We do shifts and we chat. They can also make us do anything, as long as they pay," said one of the girls picked up in the raid who used the working nickname of Rainbow.

The girl, 15, and her sister, 17, told AFP they left their rural home on a northern Philippine mango orchard to work for their aunt in Olongapo, but that their planned employment as babysitters turned into cybersex work.

"It took us about a week to adjust, but after that, we became blasé about it," said the elder sister, adding their aunt had stayed beside them during their work to ensure the online clients' demands were met.


The aunt was arrested in the raid in October and has been charged with trafficking in children for prostitution, which carries a maximum penalty of life in jail.

A police report of the raid shown to AFP said of the younger girl: "One of them was naked while in the act of inserting a sex toy in her mouth in a scandalous position."

The girls are now undergoing counselling and rehabilitation at a local children's centre run by an Irish Catholic priest.

The centre's lawyer and counsellor, a trained psychologist, gave AFP permission to speak with the girls. The counsellor was present when the interview took place.

Although police raids on cyber sex dens across the country are turning up women and children almost every week, they could be the tip of the iceberg, said law enforcer Migdonio Congzon of the National Bureau of Investigation.

"It's an economic issue. People are poor and they need the money," Congzon, the bureau's computer crimes chief, told AFP.

"There is no definite set up. It could be a house, it could be a condo unit, it could be anything else as long as you have computers with cameras and an internet connection."

Five experts

Authorities appear ill-prepared to deal with the mushrooming industry.

The bureau, which is the investigative arm of the justice ministry, has just five experts on computer crime who also have to deal with internet fraud and privacy cases.

Philippine's national police also have just five cyber experts.

Congzon also said the country needed a law that directly addressed outsourced cybersex, because the current ones on child prostitution were not specific enough to deal with the internet age.

Dolores Alforte, a member of a government committee on child welfare, said police only acted on a few of many tip-offs because most cybersex operations were run out of private homes that could not be raided without a court order.

She said law enforcement efforts were further hampered by a wall of silence put up by neighbourhoods where there is social acceptance of cybersex.

Alforte recalled a 2005 case when 70 children from a depressed Manila neighbourhood were paid a bag of groceries and $70 to be videotaped by a Japanese film maker.

$15 an hour

The tapes were later uploaded on the internet but prosecutors decided to drop the case against the Japanese suspect, she added.

Alforte said the dens charged clients anywhere from $15 an hour to $10 a minute.

She said most dens operated near money transfer facilities, although some of the more sophisticated operations now got paid via credit cards.

Teresa Calubid, a psychologist at the church-backed Preda Foundation helping the girls from the Olongapo cybersex raid, said they faced the prospect of having to stay at the shelter until the case went to trial.

"Their parents want them back, but at this stage it is just not possible," Calubid told AFP.

"There's a possibility that the pimp and recruiter would get back at them, or the parents will be pressured to drop the case."



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Jayne Zack
I am in ODM to stay, Busia Depu...

Busia Deputy Governor Kizito Wangalwa told Deputy President William on the face that he was in the Orange Democratic Movement to stay. Read more...

Boda Boda operators in Bahati rai...

Motorbike Boda Boda operators from Bahati Sub county on Tuesday took to the streets of Nakuru’s CBD lamenting over what they term is harassment by patrol police officers in the area. Read more...

Submitted by
Gabriel Ngallah
Human Rights activist lives in fe...

The Human rights fraternity in Mombasa is currently living in fear after the home of one of the vocal human rights champion was invaded on Monday night. Read more...

Submitted by
kel wesh
Poisonous milk powder siezed by K...

The Kenya Revenue Authority has seized two containers with illegal milk powder which had been declared as gypsum board at Mombasa port. Read more...

Submitted by
William Korir
Be ready for protests, Raila warn...

Expect protests if meddling with Auditor General continues, Raila Odinga has said. Read more...

Submitted by
Kenya says will return to interna...

Kenya will return to international markets to borrow when it feels the time is right, National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich said on Tuesday. Read more...