Sneaky! Grr . . .
April 13, 2002 11:50 PM   Subscribe

Sneaky! Grr . . . A few months ago, while surfing for wreck diving info, I stumbled upon this page as a main link entitled Nightlife in the Philippines. Because it promotes outright trafficking of women, I made a ruckus and sent an email complaining about it to the site admin and our government's Department of Tourism. (Prostitution, BTW, is illegal in the Philippines.) Shortly afterwards, the site admin removed the main link. So how come it's still on the site via this page? I know Southeast Asia (the Philippines second only to Thailand, I think) has a rep for cheap beer and women, but I HATE the fact that many foreigners (like the owners of this shop,) feel that they can buy anything they want while on vacation in third world countries, and that it's alright to perpetuate the trafficking of Filipino women under the guise of tourism. Bah.
posted by lillitot (31 comments total)

Welcome to the cold hard world of stuff that you "hate". I too find it disgusting that people go to these places for drug use and prostitution and such, but many get AIDS, and anyway, what can you do except throw up your arms and exclaim SUSHI VACATION!!!!??? I mean besides tell us.

I had no idea, btw, prostitution was illegal there. It sounds rather strange that they'd have that you think maybe the pulling of the link is simply to save face?
posted by Settle at 11:58 PM on April 13, 2002

Also, hella easy for you to say Mr. I'm gonna flipple fladdle in their waters looking at sunken ships while on the mainland people are forced into prostitution. Maybe instead of throwing and Alger Hissy fit you could spend your vacation time working for the rights of these people....of course that wouldn't let you explore the vast, beautiful and mysterious undersea world, would it?
posted by Settle at 12:04 AM on April 14, 2002

Settle, I'm Filipina and I do spend a lot of my working time promoting women's groups . . . I have every right to be mad, and you shouldn't judge (troll?).

Anyway, I assume they pulled the link so as not to get in trouble with the government . . . but yeah it is strange that it's illegal and it's the women that get prosecuted. Especially when police "catch you in the act."
posted by lillitot at 12:20 AM on April 14, 2002

Settle: Well, it wouldn't be much of a vacation if you were working for something now would it?
posted by delmoi at 12:26 AM on April 14, 2002

*cough* what kind of money are we talking?
posted by quonsar at 12:58 AM on April 14, 2002

Y'know I hear a lot about prostitution but I don't think I've ever met a prostitute. Come to think of it I don't think I've ever run into a drug dealer. I probably wouldn't recognize either if one slapped me in the face. I've seen people who look like they coulda been a prostitute or a drug dealer, but they coulda just been people with bad fashion sense. I have no way to know. I don't go up and ask them if they are, and I've never had anyone offer me sex or drugs for money. I must have NARC written all over me or something. I must lead a sheltered life.
posted by ZachsMind at 1:01 AM on April 14, 2002

In my neighborhood, the hookers are "on parade" every night, from about 10 pm until about 6 in the morning. Their pimps are never far behind them. There are also "dealers" a plenty, usually peddling oregono. I'm not a customer, but it is very open. It's a tourist destination after all.

That being said, most often in countries like the Philipines and Taiwan, the "women" being trafficed in are still children. There has recently been some effort to prosecute pedophile tourism, but there is still far to go in that regard.

Lillitot's anger and disgust are well placed. As for Settle, he is being a troll and a dick. Check his posting history, this is not an infrequent occurance.
posted by scottymac at 1:58 AM on April 14, 2002

i just returned from a short vacation in phuket, thailand, one night we went to patong beach to see the shops and grab a bite to eat, and there was plenty of evidence of western men cruising the bars and pubs for sex with thai women. many of the men were middle-aged and older.

oddly enough, our trip coincided with this site appearing in my referrer logs for some mysterious reason (there was no link to my site), which celebrates the ease of paying for sex in thailand.

fortunately my wife and i were staying far from patong beach, and after leaving there we felt like we needed a shower.
posted by bwg at 2:29 AM on April 14, 2002

Settle sometimes you're interesting and inscrutable. I like that. Really. But lay the fuck off holmes. Not every thread need be posted to. You've only been here since Feb 20th. Learn to add your forte of being 'avant garde' when it's neccessary.
posted by crasspastor at 2:33 AM on April 14, 2002

Ww! prostitution! Thank the good lord we don't have that stateside.
posted by Postroad at 4:20 AM on April 14, 2002

Wow! Settle! Thank the good whatever we don't have him in the Philippines.
posted by lia at 6:20 AM on April 14, 2002

Camille Paglia opined that people think prostitution is *bad* *only* because the *only* prostitutes they ever see or hear about are losers. Think about it. A successful or even reasonably okay-well-off prostitute is rarely if ever arrested, doesn't do more than recreational drugs and alcohol, and isn't a psychological or physical basket case in the first place.
Now apply that to the Phillippine situation, where the standard of living for *the majority of everybody* is awful. Do you expect to see the prostitutes living there as somehow "better off" than everybody else? Amsterdam quality and cleanliness? But then again, that's just the *street* prostitutes.
I would hazard to guess that there are boucoup hookers in the Phillipines who only deal with upscale clientele and are never, ever seen doing business "publicly." I would also bet that they are extremely happy to earn 1000% of "minimum wage."
posted by kablam at 6:39 AM on April 14, 2002

I've seen people who look like they coulda been a prostitute or a drug dealer, but they coulda just been people with bad fashion sense.

You're in Dallas, right? Drive down Harry Hines. Can't miss 'em -- we used to see them as early as 10 a.m. while heading from 635 and Harry Hines to Texas Stadium to see the Cowboys play.
posted by rcade at 6:53 AM on April 14, 2002

Kablam, I know there isn't really much we can do about the sorry standard of living in the Philippines, but that's not the point. That prostitution exists isn't the point either. The point is, many people with the money (a lot of them foreign--i.e. DiveRight owners) take advantage of how poor everybody is, hence the proliferation of mail order brides and prostitution. And the fact that the site admin was stubborn enough to keep the page on their site after many people complained . . . well.
posted by lillitot at 7:38 AM on April 14, 2002

"the fact that the site admin was stubborn enough to keep the page on their site after many people complained" is probably a testament to how well organized the prostitution rings are.

Also, the converse of your statement is true. Many poor take advantage of the exchange rates by taking foreign currencies only, effectively making as much in a couple hours as normal laborers make in a week or a month.

From a morally superior position, forcing these girls to work for slave wages is highly preferable.
posted by mischief at 8:41 AM on April 14, 2002

great thing about america. a Philipino could come here for cheap beer and broads. dont worry settle, the simple minded will ignore you after awhile, they ring in with "yeah i agree, or that is wrong" .that is all they can argue about. so dont let the peanut gallery get ya done.I loved the crack. rich Arabs feel the same about the U.S. you/us. all your asses can be bought and that burns you more then seeing some fat G.I. get S%#^%&-S$#&^& from the indiginous crowd."I know there isn't really much we can do about the sorry standard of living in the Philippines, but that's not the point" THEN WHAT IS THE POINT. you dont have one.
posted by clavdivs at 9:17 AM on April 14, 2002

Hmmm. I was just reading about how even the government of Saudi Arabia is in a fret because of their ridiculous moral standards prohibiting *any* contact between unmarried males and females--at the same time as it costs about $50,000. to get married! It is getting close to a complete collapse of their society.

"Hey! You kids! Those rules are there for a *purpose*!"
Oh yeah? Like what? For appeasing people who hate and fear sex, or any pleasure, for that matter, in others?

I propose an experiment in the Phillipines. Legalize prostitution under European quality standards. But keep everbody else working as wage slaves making Nikes and crap like that. Then watch as the standard of living in the Philippines skyrockets as all the wage slave businesses go bankrupt for want of employees, and all that can be heard is the sound of humping to cash register accompaniment.
posted by kablam at 10:30 AM on April 14, 2002

And the fact that the site admin was stubborn enough to keep the page on their site after many people complained . . . well.

Because, God knows, if people complain about your Web site, you're surely obligated to take it down.
posted by kindall at 10:49 AM on April 14, 2002

good FH$&*O#^$*O# I had no Idea you lived there and were in fact doing the things I suggested. I simply thought that the context that this issue was presented within cheapened the entire mention. Pardon me for being a dick and a troll, and a troll's dick. For the record I agree with kindall. It sucks but it is none of your BIZ-NIZ.
posted by Settle at 12:09 PM on April 14, 2002

hey, i'm filipino. i lived my childhood there, and i've seen the social decline firsthand.

but you know what? can you really blame it on the foreigners?

you should be looking at the philippine government who fleece their own people just for their own financial gain. you should be looking at the upper class filipinos who look down at their own kind while they kowtow to foreigners and english speaking folk. you should be looking at the corrupt policy makers and police, who routinely take advantage of their own people.

the poor people and prostitutes? they're just trying to eek out a better life. 1,000 pesos is nothing here ($5 bucks, i think), but it's more than a week of earning for a poor person, as opposed to one encounter for a prostitute.

and the foreigners? they're just buying goods and services.
posted by ajbriones at 12:34 PM on April 14, 2002

posted by clavdivs at 1:01 PM on April 14, 2002

I've been to plenty of foreign countries, and seen plenly of miserable districts where the girls are paraded behind glass store fronts, surrounded with neon lights and numbers around their necks.

I find it deplorable. And then I take a look back, and find that I'm in another country - not America. Another country that has it's own unique culture and beliefs - one in which I'm just a visitor.

Some things that we don't especially find culturally acceptable in America are the norm in other parts of the world - and that's their business. It's high time we as Amercians stop feeling that we have the pompous right to influence every other corner of the earth, and then ignore the problems within our own borders.

If you want to complain about prostitution and child abuse - complain about the problems in your own backyard - but then I guess the divings not as good there, is it?
posted by matty at 3:35 PM on April 14, 2002

Settle, I'd like to apologize for the personal attack I made last night.
posted by scottymac at 6:00 PM on April 14, 2002

Don't mention it, you were right anyway.
posted by Settle at 7:06 PM on April 14, 2002

I can't speak to prostitution in the Phillipines, but I have a friend who was a call girl in the states (put herself through a very expensive school that way) and a couple of friends who co-own a bordello in Holland. (Not in the red light district, that area is just tacky.)

And it seems to me, that when women own the business and can set the fees and the rules, it's a fairly safe, profitable business for which there is an insatiable market.

The sex business has been going on for as long as men have had wampum to trade. It's not going to go away, the best that we can hope for is to regulate the businesses in such a way that the woman are the primary fiduciary benificiaries, that their workplace is safe and clean with regular medical checks, and that they have chosen that line of work of their own free will.

And as outraged as many people may get, there are women, who given the above conditions, are not adverse to being intimate for a profit. Just as there are men (and probably women) who are not adverse to using their services.

So, I don't think I can be convinced that the concept of prostitution is bad, unnatural or stoppable...I think some implementations of the concept are bad.
posted by dejah420 at 11:13 PM on April 14, 2002

lillitot, thanks for the link. When I go to the Philipenes, I'll make sure to find a hooker via that site if at all possible. I think your outrage is funny.
posted by bingo at 12:04 AM on April 15, 2002

Is it a full moon or something tonight?
posted by crasspastor at 12:34 AM on April 15, 2002

hey scottymac,
you meant thailand, not taiwan! after all these posts and discussion it may seem minor, but there is a major issue with reputation here.

The two are very different, and Taiwan is practically 1st world, and where my ancestors come from. lol
posted by firestorm at 2:25 AM on April 15, 2002

Matty: Like I said, I'm Filipino—and I live in the Philippines. Which is why I feel compelled to talk about this (although I feel like I’m really running this issue to the ground, so this is my last post on this!). To you, my outrage is funny. But while I do agree with dejah420 that "when women own the business and can set the fees and the rules, it's a fairly safe, profitable business for which there is an insatiable market," eight out of 10 brothels in my country are owned by foreign nationals (and they’re not women!).

The reason they should’ve taken the page down when people complained is because it’s a site that purports to render a service: that of promoting a tourist destination. What it’s not supposed to do is promote Angeles as a prostitute haven, nor reinforce the belief that Filipinas only want to marry western men to get out of the country. Because it’s insulting to the citizens of the Philippines—especially since the guy who wrote it is Dutch, and makes his living in my country. The Philippines has a long history of colonizers using up our resources and disrespecting the people at the same time. I think this should stop.
posted by lillitot at 4:16 AM on April 15, 2002

Captive Daughters is an organization with the testimony of young women who worked in the sex trade and were not happy about it. The speaker I heard from this organization described a city (not in the Philipines) where men are not in the habit of using condoms, so about half of the female sex workers contract HIV, and most likely spread it to others.

I agree that it's not a pretty sight when the girls have to sell themselves to rich foreigners because they can't afford to marry a local man.
posted by sheauga at 4:21 PM on April 15, 2002

Firestorm- You are correct. Mea culpa. No offense intended.
posted by scottymac at 7:57 PM on April 15, 2002

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