For about four decades now, prostituted women have climbed ships docked at the ports of Davao. These women are called akyat barko 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.
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