Help us to prevent slavery and human trafficking in the Philippines

While it is essential to continue to support people who have suffered, Arise believes that it is better to prevent people from suffering in the first place.

Here are two types exploitation prevalent in the Philippines. Help us to stop them.




Every year, tens of thousands of children are trafficked for sexual  exploitation in the Philippines. But in the context of rising poverty, school closures and online learning, traffickers are finding new ways of targeting children and online child sexual exploitation has reached harrowing levels.


Led by calls from frontline groups, Arise is responding.


Support this urgent appeal to prevent human trafficking in the Philippines, and protect children from the unthinkable trauma of sexual abuse and exploitation. 

 Click the sections below

for key definitions

and statistics 

What is online child sexual exploitation (OSEC)?

Online child sexual exploitation is the production of visual depictions (photos, videos, live streaming) of the sexual abuse or exploitation of a minor, for the purpose of online publication or transmission. OSEC is usally pursued for a third party "viewer" in exchange for compensation.

What is child sexual exploitation (CSE)?

Child sexual exploitation is a form of child sexual abuse. It occurs when an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, manipulate or deceive a minor into sexual activity - (a) in exchange for something the victim needs or wants, and/or (b) for the financial advantage or increased status of the perpetrator or facilitator. The victim may have been sexually exploited even if the sexual activity appears consensual. CSE does not always involve physical contact; it can also occur through the use of technology - see the definition for online child sexual exploitation (OSEC) below. There are few accurate statistics regarding sexual exploitation of children. In 2000, UNICEF estimated that 1.8 million children were being sexually exploited in prostitution and pornography. Around 1 million children are thought to enter prostitution every year.

Child sexual exploitation in the Philippines

Every year, tens of thousands of children are trafficked for sexual exploitation in the Philippines. There are few accurate statistics regarding child sexual exploitation. UNICEF previously estimated that between 60,000 and 100,000 children per year.
Most victims of child sexual exploitation are girls ( 86%). They are often lured abroad or to the city by promises of education, scholarships or jobs as waitresses, domestic workers and hotel staff. Sometimes their families are complicit, relying on their exploitation for income. 96% of live-streamed sexual abuse is done from the home, often involving parents. According to an IJM study that took place between 2001 and 2016, the average age of child sexual exploitation victims at the time of rescue was 19 years old, with ages ranging from 4 years old. For online child sexual exploitation, the average age of victims at the time of rescue was 11 years old, with ages ranging from less than one year old.
The Philippines is the largest known source of online sexual exploitation cases in the world, according to global law enforcement data:

  • The Philippines had 801,272 CyberTipline reports* in 2019
  • Between 2010 and 2017, 193,405 IP addresses in the Philippines connected to child sexual exploitation were reported to the CyberTipline
  • Between 2014 and 2017, the number of IP addresses used for child sexual exploitation in the Philippines tripled, reaching 149 per 10,000 IP addresses
* CyberTipline reports are reports received by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) from the public and ESPs related to child sexual exploitation, and made available to national law enforcement agencies.

COVID-19 and child sexual exploitation in the Philippines

The Philippines has one of the worst child sex trafficking problems in the world, exacerbated by COVID-19 and lockdown. In the context of rising poverty, diminishing remittances, school closures and online learning, traffickers are finding new ways of exploiting children. ‏‏‎ ‎ On the 25th of May, the Philippines Department of Justice reported a 264% increase in OSEC reports since beginning of pandemic, attributed to 'higher internet usage'. ‏‏‎ ‎ In January 2021, the Department committed to respond to reports of traffickers targeting students trying to raise funds for distance learning-related expenses (internet, computer access, E books etc.)
Globally, the demand for child sexual exploitation material has increased dramatically. ‏‏‎ ‎

  • eSafety Commissioner found an 86% increase in reports of ‘image-based abuse’ during 3 weeks of March and April 2020.
  • Web-IQ detected a 200% increase in posts on sex abuse forums between February and March 2020.

At the same time, with resources being redirected to tackling COVID-19 and with the limitations of remote working, there has been an 89% decrease in the number of URLs removed after child sexual abuse exploitation was detected on them. ‏‏‎ ‎ Combatting OSEC presents unique challenges. It requires global and multi-sector collaboration. The current methods and technologies for gathering digital evidence are inconsistent and insufficient, limiting available data on OSEC globally and in the Philippines.
In the context of emerging trends and the Philippines' historically high rates of OSEC, the data we have so far signals an emergency. Arise is acting urgently to prevent Filipino children from being targeted, trafficked and exploited.



Traffickers pose as recruitment agents, luring people in with the promise of an opportunity overseas or a job in the city that many victims cannot afford to refuse. With close to 500,000 Overseas Filipino Workers repatriated during COVID-19 and millions of dollars in remittances lost, traffickers are capitalising on growing vulnerability.

Led by calls from frontline groups, Arise is responding.


Support this urgent appeal to prevent human trafficking in the Philippines, and protect domestic workers, shipping crewmen and other high-risk groups from a life of exploitation.


Campaign details

During COVID-19, existing vulnerabilities to trafficking have been exacerbated by rising poverty, school closures and the global "move" online. Reports from our frontline network have led us to focus on child sexual exploitation and labor trafficking - what drives them and how networks might address them as part of the broader slavery landscape.

With a newly established office in the Philippines and through our growing anti-trafficking frontline network, Arise is preparing to roll out a major response.





All donations will be allocated to activities that contribute to the prevention of child sex trafficking, labour trafficking and modern slavery in the Philippines by - 

  1. supporting frontline groups in their work against trafficking through strategic investment, capacity-building, research and advocacy

  2. supporting and strengthening anti-slavery networks through strategic investment, promoting collaboration, mentoring and training

Why support us?

2) Arise supports frontline groups

Individuals and organizations rooted in communities are best placed to provide meaningful support to those suffering, as well as to identify and address the systemic causes that put people from their communities at risk. Local ownership improves community participation and project sustainability. Frontline groups are embedded in and trusted by their communities, but they are often marginalized and critically under-resourced. Arise has a global team of 9 staff members. We work through local groups and their networks already embedded in high-risk communities. This means that our overheads are low, and we are able to push power out to frontline staff and programs. 83% of cases of online child sexual exploitation in the Philippines are carried out by family members. This indicates that poverty has embedded the issue of slavery in households and communities. Responding requires a comprehensive and grassroots approach that necessarily targets the whole community. This is best performed by local groups, trusted and embedded in their communities. Moreover, because frontline workers live amongst the people they support, their interventions are characteristically person-centered. People who have suffered exploitation need more than the basics. Food and shelter are necessary, but a profound quality of care and trust are essential for real change to happen. Because it is difficult to demonstrate, work of this kind is under-funded and under-appreciated. Funding for anti-slavery work has increased considerably in the last decade. But this has not translated into a growth in funding for the local organizations enjoying high levels of social capital within communities. Resources skew towards larger, Western-based NGOs.

1) Arise focuses on the prevention of slavery

Addressing the root causes of slavery is a daunting task. That is why prevention work is neglected and under-resourced. Arise believes that we must address the root causes of slavery, otherwise we are limited to dealing with the profound physical and psychological consequences of abuse and exploitation. Prevention entails stopping trafficking and exploitation from occurring by giving children and their families viable alternatives to the lures of traffickers. Our interventions include education, skills development, income diversification, rights empowerment and awareness raising. These help to build sustainable resilience to trafficking, that can be passed on through generations.

3) Arise supports frontline anti-slavery networks

Traffickers move from area to area, responding to fluctuations in communities’ resilience. Only networks of likeminded organizations can prevent the displacement of need from one area to another. Human trafficking is a complex, multifaceted and international crime. It is a networked crime that needs a networked response. Yet, insufficient collaboration is regularly cited as one of the reasons human trafficking continues to flourish. Arise develops and supports national and cross-border anti-slavery networks through strategic investment, promoting collaboration, mentoring and training.

4) Arise is faith-friendly

Around 84% of the world’s population strongly affiliates with a religion. Many of the organizations and actors in the anti-slavery movement are either faith-based groups or faith leaders. There are, for example, over 500 000 Catholic sisters in the field worldwide, a large proportion of which work against slavery. Despite their impact and efficiency, faith-based groups struggle to win funding from a largely secular Western aid community. About 81% of the Philippines is Catholic. Arise’s office in the Philippines is run by Sister Cecilia Espenilla, a pioneer of the local and international anti-trafficking movement. Our Filipino network is developing to include both secular frontline groups and Catholic sisters involved in anti-trafficking. As sisters of a shared religion, they are met with high levels of local trust, stemming from their long-term commitment to the most marginalized. They are embedded in the local language and social fabric in a way that foreign NGOs are not.

Learn more about our approach here or email for more information.