Latest in Davao prosti scene: ‘Textitution, swap-lat’

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/5 October) —There’s a new form of prostitution in the city, and they’re coined street smart. One is “textitution” and the other is “swap-lat.”

“Textitution” was derived from the words “text” and “prostitution,” and it is done through phone sex in exchange for P300 to P500 worth of cellular phone load.

On the other hand, “swap-lat” is sex in exchange for shabu, vulcaseal or rugby that is commonly used as cheaper alternatives to expensive drugs.

Jeanette Ampog, executive director of Talikala, Inc., revealed Thursday the new prostitution trend in the city during the regular I-Speak media forum here, noting that prostitution “is a form of state violence against women and children.”

She said that despite all the laws that are supposed to protect women and children, more and more women are lured to prostitution because of the poor economic situation in the country.

“The government is promoting contractualization, and for a woman who losses her job after six months, where else could she go to survive?” Ampog said, noting that it “is easy to become a guest relation officer because all the bars require is just someone with a pleasing personality and no other else.”

Aside from lack of employment opportunity, prostitution remains a desperate recourse for poor women also because of their limited access to basic social services, she said.

“They are being pulled to such business because there is fast and easy money, although there is no security of tenure. They may have customers tonight, tomorrow they might not have,” Ampog said.

But many prostituted women are ready to be liberated from their situation if given the opportunity, she told reporters.

These women would accept a decent job even at a salary of P3,000 a month, Ampog said.

Talikala reported 54 cases of sex trafficking in the city from January to September this year, involving mostly women and children aged 13 to 17 years old, who only reached elementary and high school level.

Ampog said there are several “positive laws” in the country that are supposed to protect women and children, but the government lacks the political will to implement them.

She cited Republic Act (RA) 3815 or the Revised Penal Code that provides penalties related to violence against women and children.

Other laws that protect the women and children are RA 7877 or the Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995, RA 8353 or the Anti-Rape Law of 1997, RA 8505 or the Rape Victims Assistance Act of 1998, RA 8551 or the Philippine National Police Reform and Reorganization Act 1998, RA 9208 or the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003, RA 9262 or the Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004, and RA 9710 or An Act Providing for the Magna Carta of Women.

Ampog said the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act is a positive law to stop trafficking among women and children, but despite it, the number of victims is still increasing.

With the onset of the controversial anti-cybercrime law, Ampog said this should be another positive law that will help in preventing prostitution among women and children.

RA 10175 or The Cybercrime Prevention Act, implemented since Wednesday, has faced massive attacks from various quarters, arguing that the law “violates” the constitutional rights of the people for freedom of speech.

Cybersex and pornography are related offenses stipulated in the anti-cybercrime law.

But Gabriela Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan said the cybercrime law “seeks more to silence dissent aired online than curb cyber prostitution.”

Ampog said solving prostitution should not be left in the hands of non-government organizations, and should be a concerted effort of the community.

Lorna Mandin, officer-in-charge of the Integrated Gender and Development Division, said there are some 4,000 prostituted women and children registered in the city.

But there are many more freelancers who are mostly found in KTV bars, club and massage parlors, or in different streets here such as at General Luna, Tionko, San Pedro and Anda, she added.

The city’s women development code states that prostitution is a violation to human rights and exploitation of women, Mandin said.

Women’s rights advocates commemorated today (Friday) the International Day of No Prostitution with the theme “Prostitusyon: Nagpadayong Dagway sa Kapintas Batok Kababayen-an ug Kabataan.” (Lorie Ann A. Cascaro/MindaNews)