The Inbox

Women who climb ships

Click on image to view the slideshows.

by VERA Files

For about four decades now, prostituted women have climbed ships docked at the ports of Davao. These women are called akyat barko girls, which means ship-climbing girls.

Talikala, an organization in Davao that gives support, advice, training and counseling to women and girls forced into the sex trade, estimates that there are between 300 and 400 akyat barko girls, most of them with only high school or elementary education and ages ranging from 13 to 26.

The girls frequent the ports of Sasa, Panabo, Tagum and Tefasco where they find customers among Russian, Korean, Chinese, Australian, Bangladeshi, Greek, Taiwanese, Sri Lankan, Indonesian and Honduran maritime workers,   Talikala Executive Director Jeanette Ampog said.

The akyat barko girls originally hailed from neighboring provinces. Some now live near the port areas of Barangays Sasa, Tibungco, Panacan and 76-A.

Poverty drove the women to the profession, said Ampog. While some clients are generous, others are known to withhold payment.  Some of the women get beaten up and slapped by customers.  Sexual abuses such as rape and being forced to perform sexual acts and have multiple sex partners have also been reported.

Last November, a group of journalists went to Barangay Parola, a community near the Sasa Wharf, Davao International Port to interview akyat barko girls. The journalists who participated in a multimedia workshop conducted by VERA Files and supported by the Canadian Embassy tell the stories of the akyat barko girls in sounds and images.

Producers:

Amiel Mark Cagayan is a photographer and production staff of Oblate Communications Philippines' i-WATCH of the San Isidro Labrador Parish in Upi, Shariff Kabunsuan.

CJ Kuizon is a staff writer of Davao Today, an online news service that publishes breaking news, features and special reports about Mindanao.

Joan Mae Soco-Bantayan is a columnist of the Mindanao Times, the oldest newspaper in Mindanao.

Hector Minoza is a photojournalist of the Mindanao Bulletin, a weekly community newspaper in General Santos City. He maintains heckynomic.com, a personal blog that showcases his photos.

Karlos Manlupig is a freelance photographer writer who contributes to various publications.

Bong Sarmiento has been a correspondent for regional and national news organizations for the past 10 years. He is a reporter of MindaNews.

(VERA Files is put out by veteran journalists taking a deeper look at current issues. Vera is Latin for "true.")

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • NCCA plans to conduct mapping of Pag-Asa Island
    NCCA plans to conduct mapping of Pag-Asa Island

    The National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) plans to send researchers to conduct a cultural mapping of Pag-Asa Island, which is part of Philippine-held territories in the disputed Spratlys in the West Philippine Sea. Harold Rentoria, NCCA committee on cultural heritage commissioner, admitted that since two years ago they have been thinking of going to Pag-Asa Island for their cultural mapping project. Cultural mapping is part of the NCCA program Taoid – the Ilocano word for …

  • No CNN interview for senators in ‘pork’ scam
    No CNN interview for senators in ‘pork’ scam

    Cable News Network (CNN) Philippines has been denied a chance to interview detained Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Bong Revilla, and Jinggoy Estrada, a Sandiganbayan justice said yesterday. Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang told The STAR CNN’s request for an interview with the lawmakers, who are being held without bail at Camp Crame, will not be allowed as such may violate a rule preventing parties to an ongoing trial from discussing the merits of the case. CNN Philippines had …

  • Tropical depression intensifies into storm
    Tropical depression intensifies into storm

    The tropical depression expected to enter the Philippine area of responsibility on Thursday has intensified into a storm, the state weather bureau said yesterday. Noul, which will be locally named Dodong once it enters the Philippines, packed winds of 75 kilometers per hour near the center and gustiness of up to 90 kph. …

  • PNP to car buyers: Demand LTO plates
    PNP to car buyers: Demand LTO plates

    Those who plan to buy new cars should make sure their car dealers give them their Land Transportation Office plates as soon as possible to avoid being targeted by car thieves, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said yesterday. Senior Superintendent Arnold Gunnacao, director of the PNP-Highway Patrol Group (HPG), said car theft syndicates are particularly interested in stealing brand new sport utility vehicles (SUVs) with conduction stickers serving as temporary license plates. …

  • SE Asia Stocks-Mixed; Indonesia and Philippines end losing streak

    JAKARTA, May 4 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets traded mixed on Monday with stocks in Indonesia and Philippines rebounding after a recent bout of weakness. The Indonesian stock index closed up ... …

  • 2 coast guard men, village chief, abducted in Philippines

    MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Police say gunmen clad in military uniform have abducted two Philippine coast guard personnel and a village chief on a southern island then sped away in two motorboats. …

  • Filipino on US most wanted list killed: rebels, military
    Filipino on US most wanted list killed: rebels, military

    A Filipino on the United States' list of most wanted "terrorists" has been killed in a firefight in the southern Philippines, Muslim rebel leaders and the military said Monday. Abdul Basit Usman was killed in a remote mountainous area while being escorted by members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the nation's biggest rebel group, its vice chairman Ghazali Jaafar said. Security forces had been hunting Usman since he escaped from a January police raid that killed Malaysian …

  • SE Asia Stocks-Mixed; Indonesia ends 7-day losing streak

    JAKARTA, May 4 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian shares mostly traded mixed on Monday, with Indonesia and the Philippines rebounding after a recent bout of weakness. Indonesian stock index rose 1.3 percent after ... …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options