Philippines: Secretive ‘walker’ trade puts women in harm’s way

In the Philippines, the term “walkers” is a not-so-secret code that is whispered in messaging apps, texts and social media sites..

A walker could be have any occupation by day (day job) —and at night they meet customers at their homes (home service) or at hotels and motels. Walkers could be anyone even housewives, students, office employees, and social media influencers. They face dangers such as violent crimes, disease and humiliation if caught.

The term “walker” is a code to hide or veil prostitution which because is still illegal in the Philippines[. Using that term, pimps, walkers and their customers can hide their illegal business from prying eyes.

They also use the word “walk” to mean a meetup.

The term “walkers” in the context of prostitution in the Philippines originated from the practice of walking or strolling along certain areas known for soliciting. “Walkers” emerged as a colloquial way to refer to them.

Streetwalkers are not common, are usually self-employed, and many have pimps. Their safety is at jeopardy on the streets. Streetwalkers typically find their customers, or are found by their customers, somewhere on a street, but nowaways wallets do not even have to walk on the street to find customers because they now use smartphones and messaging appa to conduct their business.

Walker language

The term “walkers” is just one of many words used to in this illegal activity.

Walkers use a coded mlanguage to keep their communication discrete, using terms such as “unlipops” to describe their menu of services. [1] .

Freelancers do not operate under a group or pimp. They negotiate directly with customers and often they become known thru word of mouth or referrals from past customers. They give away their contact information like giving a business cards. This secrecy has made it difficult for authorities to catch incidents of trafficking.

Facebook and Telegram

Pimps and women who go about their trade on Facebook also refer to themselves as walkers. Facebook has become popular among walkers to attract customers and they use Facebook Messenger to arrange “deals” and meetups.j

The walker trade in the Philippines has also been facilitated by Facebook groups managed by pimps, where photos and profiles are posted [4]. These groups include names such as PSP Crib 2, Favorite Walk, PSP for Rent, Take a Walk, PSP Walkers, and Walker Finders[6]

Walkers snd their handlers could potentially use Telegram, a messaging app, to engage in their illegal activities. For example, they might create private groups or channels on Telegram where they share photos, profiles, and information. These groups could be accessed by potential clients who are looking to hire their services.

One specific example that got caught by the police is when law enforcement discovered a private Telegram group where pimps were advertising kk. The group had explicit photos and descriptions of the individuals involved. Through investigations and collaboration with authorities, the police were able to identify and apprehend those responsible for running the group, leading to legal consequences for their involvement in the illicit trade.

Social media influencers

The rise of social media has led to the emergence of a new phenomenon known as “sexfluencers“. These are public figures with massive social followings who post explicit content “far more explicit than your typical thirst trap,” according to author Mira Miller in GetMeGiddy. “They have developed a “hybrid model” that combines the reach of an influencer with the explicit content.”

This “sexfluencer” trend has also led to the problem of influencers engaging in prostitution. According to a BBC report, top social media influencers are being propositioned daily by strangers with offers of thousands of money. The report also revealed that social media had become “a catalogue” for men to select their next conquest.

What must be done

It’s really worrying that Facebook groups are being used to support the cybersex trade in the Philippines. These groups run by pimps share pictures and information about young sex workers. It’s a bad way that technology is being misused, putting vulnerable people at risk. We need to think about the responsibility of platforms like Facebook in stopping this and protecting those who are being exploited. It’s important for all of us to work together to stop this harmful trade and keep people safe.

Here are some ways to stop the cybersex trade on Facebook:

  1. Make Facebook safer: Facebook should work harder to find and remove illegal content related to cybersex. They can use better technology and have more people checking for bad stuff.
  2. Report it: If you see something suspicious or wrong on Facebook, report it! Facebook should make it easy for people to report bad things they find.
  3. Work with the police: Facebook should help the police catch the people involved in cybersex. They should share information and help in catching and punishing the bad guys.
  4. Teach people: Facebook should tell people about the dangers of cybersex and how to report it. People need to know that it’s wrong and that they can help stop it.
  5. Make it harder for bad groups: Facebook should have better rules to stop groups or pages that promote cybersex. They can make sure that only trustworthy people can run these groups and keep an eye out for suspicious activities.
  6. Team up with others: Facebook should work together with other social media platforms, governments, and organizations from different countries to fight cybersex. By sharing ideas and resources, we can make a bigger impact.

Remember, it’s also important to address the reasons why people get involved in trade, like poverty and lack of opportunities. By tackling these problems, we can help prevent it from happening in the first place.

References/Related Links
[1] Wtf does unlipops mean in the world of “walking”? : r/Philippines – Reddit
[3] Social media lures young people to engage in sex for money –
[4] Prostitution in the Philippines – Wikipedia
[6] Facebook groups open more channels for PH cybersex trade – study – Rappler

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