This is discussion about Heal, Earn, Affirm-Reaffirm & Transform (HEART) Innovation: Transformative Hobbies to Address Boy-victims of Child Prostitution.
It seems as though you have a lot of absolutely wonderful initiatives with your program. I think it would be helpful for me if there was a clear mission statement that encapsulated all of the objectives you have, along with a clear and concise lists of the main areas that you work in as there seems to be many.
I would also like to know the specific vulnerabilities that boys face vs. girls. Is it local demand, sex tourism, or other sources of demand that contribute to the problem?
In your beneficiary list, can you tell me more about what these benficiaries will receive in terms of skills training, etc? What types of skills? How long will they be enrolled for? You mention training of peer mentors, which is fantastic. Do you have a formal system in place to continue peer mentor training out of the current withdrawn/ prevented children?
Also, have you considered community and religious partnerships to help change social norms in this way?
I look forward to learning more about your program!
Gender Equality and Human Trafficking Specialist
It is so great to have your entry in the competition. It is clear that your program is having a lot of impact.
Could you please include more details in your delivery model section? Specifically, could you explain "How?"
How do you find the boys and how do you organize them to take part in the steps that you mention.
Lastly, Do you have any ideas for long term sustainability?
Thank you! I felt inspired despite the struggles we are regulalry confronting... it fuels our passion and determination.
Yup, the "how" is very important and there it is... That is "how we do it" in very simple terms.
For sustainability... this is a very challenging question and a task we mandate ourselves as well... Let me further elaborate our long-term sustainability through the hobby-that-earn component of the innovation: The artwork festival.
The artwork festival is a joint collaboration between our organization and our young Japanese Volunteers based in Japan. We are organizing the artwork festival and therapy sessions while they prepare the publishing, printing and marketing of the masterpieces in Japan. The concept both aims to address economic self-reliance and healing among our children whilst social awareness and mobilisation of resources are facilitated in Japan and in our local community by sharing stories through arts. This is part of our organizational Global Citizenry advocacy. Sometimes, when funds has been raised in Japan, I am invited to present the published artworks of children to Japanese youth and prospect buyers like during the 2005 Aichi World Exposition:
We believe that through this artwork festival can sustain our innovation in a long-term basis and in fact can be replicated for our other projects for children/orphans/child labourers.
Our only constraints is that we need some trust fund to be rolled annually to sustain the annual artwork festival since we need some mobilisation of volunteers and community resources especially in gathering boys during their annual convention and fellowship. Maintaining volunteers needs hardwork to raise funds for their mobilisation for food and transport since we value their very efforts and time they spent for the success of our activites.
I will attach some photos of the artworks by this week.
Once again Unite for Children!
Thank you for your comments that made me pondered
Our over-all goal programme goal (mission as you said) for this innovation is that boy-prostitution is recognized as a social justice and public health issue at par with girls and that impact of commercial sexual exploitation of boys has been addressed. We specially focus on boys because they are equally vulnerable in terms of commercial sexual exploitation but are underserved population in terms of prosecution, prevention and protection resources that address their victimisation. In fact, most of our children-victims of CSEC, only girl-children are being responded to by our numerous NGOs, government facilities and civil society organizations that offers wide array of services for girls. Sadly, we do not have any, not one for boys other than rehabilitative and corrective services in a prison/prison-like environment. The culprit of this as I mentioned is the double standard of morality in our society that expect boys to take responsibility of their own actions/experiences.
I also modified our title to encapsulate our objectives and are based on our five-step activites we regulary conduct distinctively for boys. However, I underlined in some part of my entry the double standard of morality since this culprit has generations to go before it will be changed.
I will discuss to you in my later responses our peer education systems already installed in our communties including information on the skills training we have designed or adopted through our partnership with academic and training institutions. I need to answer them comprehensively based on our expereince.
I would like to respond on community and religious partnerships:
For community partnership, we are proud that this is one of our strenghts. We organize a local BCC Team (Behavior Change Communications Team) composed of our project staff, peer educators, parents, local advocacy champions (legislator) and service providers (social welfare, rural health units, council for the protection of children) from the local governement. The team meet weekly during referrals and case management/monitoring of children (both boys and girls) for access to services.
As one of our organizational mandates to ensure community ownership, of course community and religious partnership is very crucial. I already discussed previously about the community BCC team and now I will discuss about "religious" parterships:
We also have spirituality component of the programme replacing “religious” partnership. Not that we are indifferent with “religion” but as far as our experience is concerned, religion has done more harm than good. We respect religious institutions as a unit of society that helps people cope their stress but there are some issues that sometimes we need to compromise such as condoms, harm reduction for injecting drugs, and prostitution which we already struggled so much that the Church has always been our formiddable critic. Our region where we operate stands one of the most powerful Archbishopric office in the country. Our spirituality component encompasses religion and we select progressive supporters from the religious sector rather than the institution itself. We have bible studies, special mass, and pastoral counselling conducted by pastors, priest, nuns. I will tell you one experience:
During our training with peer educators conducted in a neighboring island; we started with a Mass and before the Mass, there was a Confession. We were surprised when 80% of the children joined the confession. After the confession - the Preist called our attention and he was sweating. All of the confessions was all about their sexual expereinces. The priest wept and said: I congratulate you and as Priest, I never expereince the honesty of these boys and the shocking reality of their expereince and I provide you my blessings.
Jessica, I personally assure you that spirituality is part of our Human Capacity for Response and a key concept with very crucial importance
For changing social norms, it’s a long way to go, it is only through policy formation informed by local experience that would gradually change social norms by providing avenues for sustained community dialogue and policy advocacy.
Response for training, peer education systems tomorrow!
Thanks for sharing this inspiring project on changemakers. It surely sounds like you are a changemaker! i was hoping you could interpret this sentence for us in how you will help other young men (and women) share in the transformational journey you made:
From victims to survivors, from survivors to advocates, from advocates to nation-builders and finally enduring every adversity in life to become Global Citizens – our changemaker’s pathway that facilitates change.
Can you give us an example of how your interventions help turn these young people into changemakers? i think it is very inspirational to understand what "theories of change" inform these projects.
Thanks for your thoughts, good luck with your further work!
All the best from Berlin
Free University Berlin
Dear Professor Cameron,
How is Berlin?, when I visited Belgium a year ago to visit the sponsors of our children and update them, I have the chance to visit a part of Germany. I felt bad when I heard the news that there are many Filipinos who attended the World Youth Day and did not came back here and stayed there illegally.
Anyway, I wish to discuss about the transformational journey you want me to expound more. But I do not have the luxury of time since this "chain" as you call it and "spheres" as I see it is actually part of our organizational mission and this was part of my discovery and learning on my own life pieces and I want to talk about it very seriously.
You said about "theories of change" and this also inspired us since we ourselves are not very aware that many transformations in my life, lives of our communities and our organization's work has "theories" attached with them.
Although there is diversity in this world, I believe that there is a special pathway for change for each humans to reach a common destiny (of Humanity) – a peaceful and sustainable world.
Once I have engaged in an e-forum when I said “We should remember that people without peace in their hearts are determined to destroy the peace of many” and I encountered a response “Yes, that’s true, but usually people not having peace in their heart are not born like that. So we have to treat cause first and then only the effect”
There is a grain of truth in his reply but to reckon on my own experience, we cannot justify our victimization or to use our past to continue the cycle of violence. On the first place all humans are victims and the first victimization is the day they were born. We did not choose to be born but are born in this very hostile world and its our responsibility to define our purpose and to choose the way we want to exist and live life.
It was during my discovery that my first sexual experience was a sexual abuse experience - the moment that totally wrecked my life. During the time of resistance, violence started and my life is hell! Until I ran away home. In the streets I found friends and I discovered that I was not alone and there I found friends with worst experiences than me. I become engaged with their illegal activities and became a leader capable of organizing them. We are noisy, we blame our parents, the Government, God, Church, and people even our own selves. All moments are anger, hatred and violence. No moments about our dreams, aspirations and hopes and always end in jail or in the company of those taking advantage of us.
One day, I started talking about my dream and they shun away and said that what is important now is to survive and no time for our dreams. But I insisted in sharing them my dreams and I want to know their dreams. They do not have dreams! Or maybe they are ashamed to tell about their great dreams because they felt they are not entitled of dreaming. However, my childhood dreams keeps bothering me-a promise I made to my self that someday I will be a scientist to find cure for AIDS.
I began to realize that it was my past that keeps me back from moving forward and that is what happening with street children. They are prisoners of their own war and what interesting is that within that prison cell together with them is the key to open the gates.
For me that situation is the sphere of victimization and it was during my attempt to step out of that sphere and observed street children that made me see what’s inside and there is truly noise and there is are common understanding shared and that is hatred, anger, violence, revenge and survival that left them no windows of hope and enlightenment (2bcontinued)
this sounds like a great project.
Can you tell us a little more about the “Double Standards of Morality” exacerbated by machismo and marianism culture engrained in the Filipino psyche" you were writing about? I am wondering how this connects to boy prostitution. Also, if gender roles and gender relations in Filipino society seem to play into this, are you addressing gender issues in the wider community at all in your work - by campaigning for a different understanding or dealing with the boy´s indivudal perception of gender?
Looking forward to your answers,
Free University Berlin
Thank you for your inquiry regarding this topic.
By the way, Machismo is what I connect to boy-prostittution while Marinaism is girl-prostitution.
I will just give you some insights about machismo and marianism – actually this is my bias (please correct me if my observation is pointless, for me to understand more on the dynamics of exploitation, slavery and trafficking). I personally believe that these two perpetuate the prostitution of both males and female children. HOW?
I have interviewed many prostituted women (in the course of my social work), and almost all of them have one common denominator - experience of rape, incest and sexual abuse. I kept on pondering, researching, and analysing why they became prostitutes just because of that adversity and I cannot understand until I studied many literatures including the Holy Scriptures. And in my search for answers, I have one suspicion that religious education (as interpreted and taught by Men) “might” indirectly lead these women to prostitution. Another common denominator: these women felt they are “garbage” they are dirty women because they lost their virginity and they must atone for that loss. Clearly being taught in schools and churches that sex outside marriage is a sinful act and a mortal sin. Without interventions they ran away home and group themselves to other women with the same plight (sphere of victimisation). When I read the scriptures I see the two faces of Mary, the Ever Virgin and the Prostitute.
Personally, I feel there is a strong link (despite I do not have an empirical bases) between prostitution and how Scriptures has been handed down to us by Male writers/interpreters that perpetuate Women’s inferior role in society. That’s why, in our counselling and transformative interventions, we strive to level-up aspirations of girls and women who transcended abuse to always remind themselves – virgin or not, I am Human and I have Dignity and I deserve to respect myself and to be respected and achieve my childhood dreams.
First, I focused on boys because micro-level trafficking of male children for sexual purposes is widespread – this becomes a vulnerability for the shifting of micro to macro sexual trafficking since our region has just been declared a super region for Eco and Cultural Tourism and borders once separated by waters has been bridged by what we call superhighways through roll-on roll-off shipping transport – a gateway for trafficking of both boys and girls for sexual exploitation, child labour, domestic help and drugs trafficking.
Personally I believe that Machismo has an indirect effect on boy-prostitution. It is a vulnerability interpreted as strength by boys and taken advantage by adults. The problem of boy prostitution in the Philippines is actually not invisible but actually exists in an epidemic proportion. tHeir victimisation has been transformed into a rite of passage and to be culturally viewed as the de facto passage into adulthood. We have many cases of young boys who are sexually initiated by adult women (most oftentimes prostitutes) for free if they are below 18 years old. Many of young boys here also are sexually initated as early as those in the elementary grades in excahnge for free haircuts and other in kind remunerations and the exploiters are not put to justice because and this is part of their groweing up and test of the maleness or being "macho" or a real man if they engage in early sex with an adult. Because it is silenced by tolerance and ignorance, growing up confused, results to betrayal, guilt, suppressed anger and then later violence.
When I was a child, it is a subculture among our peers that we are expected to engage in sex as early as possible in order for us to prove our “manliness” otherwise you’re not a real man. When I started living on the streets, the expectation becomes worst since you engage in sex not just to prove young are man but also to survive. And when I began my gender advocacy, it’s not just a subculture among boys but it’s a widely practiced and customarily tolerated in its worst forms at all levels of Philippine society. Sadly, boy-prostitution has never been considered an alarming public health and social justice issue and in fact most of these boys are even the one being blamed or caught by the police when they harass they exploiters once they are not being paid for their sexual transaction.
Sexual activities experienced by street children are almost exploitative in nature and no one among street children consider their experiences as “abuse” since they earn from it and they consented to the sexual activities. To prove that they are Man enough, they should not complain about their experience but to accept it as a rite of passage that trains them to become a “pro” later on. If they are being abused or exploited, they should not feel being victim but to take the responsibility of their own experience and should feel that their masculinity has been reinforced. Boys in their formative years especially those in puberty stage are made vulnerable by this societal “Macho” image and made them susceptible from sexual exploitation to adults taking advantage of these social constructs.
In fact, in order to compel boys to engage in sex for a pay or other in kind remunerations, common sexist languages are used to lure them: Such as “malaki na ba yan” or “is it already big”, “may kapote pa” or “still have a jacket” (uncircumcised), “mag jakol para tumaas at lumaki” or “masturbate in order to increase its length” or “ipatsupa para hahaba at mapatunayan na tunay ka na lalake” or “let someone suck it in order for it to grow and prove that you are a real man”. Or if the child has no erection, pornography is used to entice them and stimulate erection and once the boy has been “binyagan” or what we call being baptized, these exploiters share them to their sexual networks that leave them to experience severe exploitation. These boys cannot break out from this form of slavery since if they try to resist the second time around, they will be threatened to tell that they are gays, should payback what was paid earlier or ridicule them and thus boys just keep themselves victimised and re-victimised.
Another very uninteresting fact, fondling and kissing the penis of an infant or a child is a common practice (of course it is argued that there is no malice since they are not girls that may lose their virginity while boys are boys they have nothing to lose) and when boys react or evade when someone touches them, they are being scolded to be “malisyoso” or malicious child. But kissing or touching the vagina of a girl is something else! Thus boys growing up thinking their genitalia are a public property.
Worst effect, since majority of boy’s first sexual experience are with their same-sex, boys seeks regular sexual contact to their female peers and sometimes they have sexual aggression toward their female peers just to remind them that they are not gays but still remain a “Man”. Because it is silenced by tolerance and ignorance, these experiences harnesses inner hatred and suppressed anger, guilt and betrayal and vicious cycle of violence begin. These are translated in their violent behaviours toward other people, sexual aggression toward their female peers and manipulative behaviour toward their exploiters both men and women in exchange of money or other forms of remunerations.
Jasper, I believe that this unfair social construct nurtures future aggressors since as a child, their sexuality has been confused and their innocence cheated. I discovered this through self-learning and transcending my own sphere of victimisation.... to be continued...
We like the change in title of your entry! The new title does a better job of reflecting the unique work of your organization and its efforts to change societal practices.
Because the judges predominately read the entry form, it would be great if you could update your entry form with the additional information you provided in the comments. For instance, the art festival arranged through a partnership with the Japanese volunteers sounds like a unique and impactful project. Please elaborate in your entry form so that the judges can learn about your great work.
Thanks and best wishes,
The Changemakers Team
On July 16, 2008, the judges reviewed the entries for the Changemakers “Ending Global Slavery” Competition and would like to pass on the following feedback for your entry. Thank you for applying and for your hard work in the field. We are excited to archive your entry to serve as a leading solution for the worldwide community of innovators who are exposing, confronting and ending modern day slavery. We wish you continued luck with your sustainable, innovative, and socially impactful initiatives.
All the best, The Changemakers Team
“This effort is quite innovative in that it focuses on empowering boys – a group often ignored by programs working to end childhood slavery. We were quite moved by the innovator’s story and his courage to overcome the trauma and stigma of his childhood. We commend this initiative and encourage the innovator to continue his leadership in this area. What are his plans for expansion?”
-Changemakers “Ending Global Slavery” Judges: United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Trafficking, International Organization for Migration, Design Within Reach, Vital Voices Global Partnership, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Humanity United.