By ALDWIN QUITASOL
BAGUIO CITY — The approximately 1,800 free lance sex workers (FSW) in Baguio City based on Social Hygeinic Clinic of the Baguio City Health Services records is a manifestation of the worsening economic crisis not just in the city bu all over the country, according to Innabuyog-Gabriela Chairperson Virginia Dammay.
Social Hygeinic Clinic of the Baguio City Dr. Celia Brillantes said the number was based on their surveillance including street hookers and students.
In a press conference as part of the observance of the World Aids Day, Brillantes reiterated that her office together with other agencies are monitoring the night workers especially those who are involved in the sex trade in the city.
She said that as part of their effort, they have been mobilizing peer group volunteers that will talk and consult with the sex workers who are at risk of acquiring sexually transmitted diseases. She said that they are being advised to practice safety precautions or much better if they find other job.
Baguio Association of Bars and Entertainers (BABEs) president Alex Bandoy said that they have been able to monitor some FSWs roaming or standing by at the main thoroughfares of the city waiting for costumers.
Dammay said that these sex workers are victims of lack of decent and well-paid jobs. She said that like the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who are forced to leave their families behind to seek jobs abroad as there is job scarcity in the country, most of the sex workers are those who were not able to go to school because of poverty and the commercialized education in the country.
She added that prostitution is not a form of labor rather it is one of the results of systematized exploitation of women, children and men. She added that given the data, the City Government of Baguio should recognize that prostitution is rampant in the city and that it needs to be addressed seriously.
Dammay said that prostituted individuals should not be treated as criminals but people who need help. She added that providing decent paying jobs would be a more effective way to curb prostitution.
She said that while the government should be serious at helping these sex workers. “We urge the government, from local to national, to enact a law that will criminalize the pimps, bar owners and operators or those who pay to use and abuse them”, Dammay ended. # nordis.net