Sep 192014

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MANILA2350 2006-06-06 08:24 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Manila
DE RUEHML #2350/01 1570824
P 060824Z JUN 06



E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Cybersex a growing problem in the Philippines

REF: 05 MANILA 2660

¶1. (U) This message is Sensitive but Unclassified. Please
handle accordingly.

¶2. (SBU) Summary: The cybersex industry continues to grow
in the Philippines, spurred on by the increasing
availability of broadband Internet connectivity, foreign
demand, and difficulty in prosecuting operators. According
to GRP authorities, cybersex operations often employ the
services of recruiting syndicates to find “workers.” Bills
related to cybersex are currently under consideration in
both houses of Congress, which recess on June 9. Mission
continues to work closely with Philippine law enforcement to
prosecute Amcits who commit sex crimes in the Philippines
and to train prosecutors to build more effective cases
against traffickers. End Summary.

A Growing Problem

¶3. (U) The cybersex industry, where paying customers order
“performers” to engage in sexual acts in front of web
cameras, continues to grow in the Philippines. Clients are
mostly foreign men who pay by credit card for a live video
feed involving young females and, in some cases, males,
including some minors. According to NGO sources, the
majority of cybersex customers are located in the U.S.,
Europe, Australia, Japan, and South Korea. Reliable
statistics on the number of cybersex dens in the Philippines
are not available, due to the clandestine nature of the
operations, but contacts in law enforcement and NGOs
estimate cybersex to be a multi-million dollar industry that
has spread throughout the country. Since 2003, police have
raided operations in Manila, Quezon City, Angeles City (near
the former Clark Air Base), Olongapo (near the former Subic
Bay base), Cebu, Davao, and the beach resorts of Boracay and
Puerto Galera.

¶4. (U) Most cybersex businesses are small-scale operations
consisting of several computers, with a few so-called
performers often working out of non-descript apartment
units. The ability to blend in and the portability of the
infrastructure make cybersex operations difficult to detect.
According to officials in the National Bureau of
Investigation (NBI), Filipino cybersex den operators often
partner with foreigners because of their access to capital
and technical know-how. Authorities have arrested at least
two Americans and one British national in cybersex raids in
the last two years.

¶5. (SBU) According to Susan Pineda, the Director of Ing
Makababaying Aksyon (IMA) Foundation in Angeles City,
performers in cybersex operations are mostly females 15-25
years old, although some are younger and there are
occasionally males. Based on her experience at the IMA
shelter for child victims of trafficking and commercial
sexual exploitation in Angeles City (which has received USG
funding in the past), the majority of the so-called “chat
ladies” say they were lured into the business as a way to
get out of poverty. Several girls and young women whom IMA
rescued said they viewed working in cybersex as a “step up”
from traditional prostitution because of the anonymity and
their perception that there was a lower risk of physical

Links to Trafficking Syndicates

¶6. (U) According to NBI sources in Angeles City,
many cybersex den owners also run night clubs and are
involved in prostitution. They often employ the services of
recruiting syndicates to find workers for their illicit
enterprises. Recruiters seek out the so-called performers
with promises of quick cash to help support their families.
Often the jobs are advertised as “data entry” positions.
Another tactic employed by recruiters is to hold out the
hope of meeting a wealthy foreign husband online — a
prospect seen by some Filipinos as a ticket out of poverty.

¶7. (U) In a new twist, some club owners are reportedly
combining cybersex with existing prostitution operations to
enhance their profitability. According to Pineda, some
establishments in Angeles City have set up internet cafes
where customers can engage in private video chats with young
women. When they find a “chat lady” in whom they are
interested, they arrange a meeting at an assigned location

MANILA 00002350 002 OF 002

(usually a local hotel). The customer pays online by credit
card and then meets his “chat girl” at the designated place
and time.

A Push to Strengthen Laws

¶8. (SBU) Officers in both the Philippine National Police
(PNP) and NBI told poloff they have had difficulty in
building cases against cybersex operators — even those that
exploit minors — because of the weakness of current laws.
In late 2005, the Senate Committee on Youth, Women, and
Family Relations conducted an inquiry into the proliferation
of child pornography and sexual exploitation of minors. The
Committee found gaps in existing laws related to child
Internet pornography — particularly a lack of specific
sanctions on perpetrators of such pornography, failure to
penalize customers of such materials, and lack of a specific
definition of child pornography.

¶9. (SBU) Senator Jamby Madrigal, a child rights activist,
recently shared with poloff draft legislation to address the
concerns raised in the Committee’s report. In January 2006,
Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago filed Senate Bill 2197, the
“Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2006,” penalizing the
possession, sale, and distribution of child pornography.
The bill is currently under review by the Senate Committee
on Public Information. Key features of the legislation

— Making possession of child pornography a crime (currently
this is not a criminal offense);

— Establishing penalties for Internet Service Providers
(ISPs) that fail to notify law enforcement upon learning
that a web site containing child pornography exists on its
server; and,

— Providing rehabilitation to victims of child pornography
and legal assistance in filing complaints against
pornographers. These programs would be funded by earnings
from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office and the
Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).

¶10. (U) At least three bills concerning cybersex and child
pornography are also pending in the House of
Representatives. However, both houses of Congress will
recess on June 9.

USG Assistance

¶11. (U) Mission continues to work closely with Philippine
law enforcement to prosecute Amcits who commit sex crimes in
the Philippines. To date, the GRP has cooperated with US
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on over 30 cases
of Amcits involved in cybersex or child pornography. The
suspects face possible charges in the U.S. under the Protect
Act and child pornography laws. High-level officials in the
PNP and NBI have been very cooperative with ICE
prosecutions, including sending officials to testify in U.S.
courts. In addition, Mission continues to train prosecutors
to pursue cases more effectively under USAID’s Rule of Law
Effectiveness (ROLE) program. To date, the program has
trained about 100 prosecutors throughout the country.

Visit Embassy Manila’s Classified SIPRNET website: cfm

You can also access this site through the State Department’s
Classified SIPRNET website:



Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.