"In Shadow" is a collaborative project aims to make visible the lives of Child Domestic Workers (CDW) and child cybersex survivors in Manila Philippines by engaging them in the creative process about how to best tell and represent their own personal stories.
In the Philippines, girls are sold into domestic servitude and the cybersex trade by human traffickers, who deceive them into believing that they will have a better life. Many victims come from rural, mountain villages and are intrigued by the promise of a well-paid job. They believe they are leaving their impoverished life for an opportunity to earn money, but instead become entangled in a nightmare.
Child Domestic Workers (CDW) live in perpetuating invisibility, are expected to do adult work, suffer extreme physical, verbal and sometimes sexual abuse. They are deprived of life chances of schooling and self-development. Vulnerability also comes with working at a very young age, being a girl, and having no immediate outside contact or support network. Vulnerability also emanates from the power relations of the child to the employer, who exercises guardianship and stewardship over the child domestic worker. While not all CDWs work in hazardous conditions, studies have shown that many CDWs suffer under worst practices and working conditions. Child domestic work is considered the worst form of child labor.
Cybersex trafficking is the other sinister form of modern-day slavery in the Philippines--the live sexual abuse of children streamed via the internet. Controlled by adults who collect money through online transactions, children are directed in real time by a predator located anywhere in the world. Unlike in many street based sex trafficking cases—criminals directing live abuse via the internet are abusers specifically looking for young children. These customers will use chat rooms and messaging services to purchase/trade child pornography, or to make connections with sellers located in a country like the Philippines who can offer a child to view live. Customers wire a secure payment online, anonymously and easily, to the trafficker in the Philippines.
*An In-Depth Study for a Time-Bound Program Targeting Child Domestic Workers in the Philippines, Roland Romeo R. Pacis-Voice of the Free