The Benefits and Dangers in Legalization of Sex Tourism in the Philippines

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Who does not want money? They say money makes everything go round. People work hard to earn it, for without money, one cannot buy even the basic necessities. It has also been a symbol of social status. Those who do not have it, or lack it, belong to the lowest and are called poor. On the other hand, those who have plenty of it, are looked up upon the social strata and go by different names like “the rich,” the filthy rich,” or “the elite.” Money, according to the dictionary, is ‘a good that acts as a medium of exchange in transactions.’ Some want it. Some desire more of it. Yet the common denominator is everybody needs it. How to earn money is everybody’s mantra especially those who do not have a stable job. Thus, there are those who resort to defying the law and committing crimes, living life like entering the eye of a needle, just to earn money to survive the day. Such is the case of some people, women and men alike, who “sell pleasure.” People often see it as “dirty money” earned by an immoral person in the most unethical way. This is called ‘Sex Tourism.’ As of the time this essay is written, sex tourism is considered illegal in the Philippines. What if for these people this is the best way they know how to earn money? Should we raise an eyebrow on them? Should we hate them? Should we condemn them for wanting to earn money and live a comfortable life? Should we deprive them of opportunities?

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Debates on the legalization of sex tourism goes on for a number of reasons. One of which is the health condition of the people involved in this industry. They are vulnerable to sexually transmitted diseases (HIV/AIDS). Furthermore, there would be an increased risk of sexual exploitation, violence, and human trafficking. Should sex tourism be legalized in the Philippines, it will start a new business that may boom with the people. It will preserve a significant place to be promoted as a tourist spot which will then be a reason for more people to visit the country. One too many doors of opportunities may be created from here. A person engaging in sexual activity with locals and/or foreigners in exchange for a good amount of cash sounds good not just for the individual but for the country’s economic growth as a whole However, truth be told, this is considered immoral—especially if you are in the Philippines where everything is a big deal. Selling of one’s body for another’s carnal desire in exchange of money is known as prostitution or often ‘human trafficking.” But assuming it is one’s only way of living? Would dignity still matter over survival? An ugly truth, but a beneficial thing to some. The situations presented beforehand are possible chances for a leap in economic growth.

Filipinos seek rise and improvement. Time changes but the need for stable jobs remains constant. Hence, sex tourism has become an important source of income for some locals. It is their way to solve poverty. Lack of education, could also be one of the reasons why sex tourism is flourishing in the Philippines. The uninformed basic lectures that should be known by even the young ones are not taught, giving them the idea of performing sex recklessly without thinking of the consequences along, are fine. Most of them take the risks of engaging in ‘dirty business’ just to keep their lives going. A sad reality, but majority of the people in the slums, mostly single or unwed mothers are pressured to be sex workers to make ends meet. Being a sex worker is not legal in the Philippines nor is it accepted by society. It might be immoral to some, but come think of it, this so-called ‘dirty business’ is what makes them going. Risky this job may seem, but sex tourism attracts not only our fellow Filipinos, but also foreign people which some would claim as “sexual tourists.” In a global view, there are countries who have legalized sex tourism: Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Ecuador, France, Germany, Greece, Indonesia, Netherlands, and New Zealand to name a few. For a country deemed to be “conservative,” legalizing this could possibly be a fearsome action knowing the dangers it may come with. We must look at how our neighboring countries benefit from it. Upon researching, here are some reasonable bases to legalize this act.

Lastly, this kind of job cannot be prevented. In fact, this has been around since time immemorial – the oldest job this world has known Thus, simply trying to eradicate this would be impossible. Why not just bring it out unbolted? Yes, there might be pros and cons in legalizing prostitution. But come to think of it, sex workers are just normal people doing jobs to provide for their daily needs. Yes, legalizing sex tourism— prostitution has its cons such as the rate of unwanted pregnancy, harassment or violation and trafficking ‘might’ increase but as mentioned earlier, if this would be legalized, seminars/ lectures about sex could be given to men and women, and implementing “sex education” can be an answer to prevent ignorance with sexual engagements. Harassment or violation to sex workers, on the other hand, could possibly be managed by means of enacting a law on protecting them. If trafficking still remains as an issue, having legalized prostitution could give them the authority to connect with law enforcements to serve as a source in tracking down potential traffickers. As a support, having prostitution legal would not just be a benefit to the worker, but the state of the economy as well. Sex tourism, has one of the main reasons in bloom of growth in the economy due to high demands of foreigners visiting clients for sexual activities in exchange for good money. If this would be legal, this might be give a big adjustment to many, but come think of it, it could also give sensible benefits.

In a nutshell, sex tourism is frowned upon by most people. It has been considered as a mortal sin since the biblical times. But the world continues to change. It continues to evolve with its people. Challenges have grown tougher than ever. At the end of the day, life is a survival of the fittest. Reality check: only the strong live. Only those who have faith continue to believe. Only the educated may speak. Only the rich have power. Therefore, everybody must be given an equal chance to fight and to live. They say, “do not give a man a fish; instead, teach him how to fish.” If sexual tourism is deemed beneficial for these sex workers, let them be. Perhaps, after all this time, the end justifies the means. These sexual workers must cease in experiencing being judged by how they earn. In the business they have willingly chosen, they do not hurt anybody; they are in-charge of their own health. They, too, must feel a sense of pride and fulfilment with what they do. They must also feel welcomed in the society. We must altogether try to prosper as one nation. 

07 April 2022

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