Saturday, February 26, 2005


What is said to be the world’s oldest profession has also become an “easy job” for almost all ages. From time to time, you get shocked at news of a nine year old or so going into the flesh trade. In fact, prostitution has long invaded the schools.
I was still in a church-based high school in Cabadbaran, Agusan del Norte when my pretty classmate confessed that she enjoyed the thrill of dating moneyed salesmen and young entrepreneurs. She told me she particularly love the shopping package.
What made matters worse was that I learned that this pretty classmate of mine never got out of such a job even when she was already in Cebu for college. In that big city, her range of clientele simply widened. Ton think that she was a smart student back in high school. She even got the Mathematician of the Year award on graduation day. The typical campus “beauty and brains” in the flesh (no pun intended), now “wasted” by the lure of material gifts from DOM.
While my high school classmate was “working” in Cebu, I didn’t realize that I was also slowly being introduced to their kind of life – right here in this University Town. I was a college freshman then and so, was like a kid brother particularly to two seniors. They would regale me with campus stories, they would take me to clean fun activities and because of their wit and adorable sense of humor, I felt that it was simply cool jamming with the seniors.
Since these two senior-friends of mine would have to fulfill some “extra-curricular responsibilities” at night, they would ask me to do their homework – which I willingly did. And for doing their school assignments, they would reward me with fun-filled weekends in Cebu, a trip to Camiguin island one time and chances to visit their nice affluent homes in Mindanao.
I never really cared to know what kind of “work scholarship” they were into especially that one of them was also very active in church activities. I only learned that these two lady friends of mine had what call “sugar daddies” after one wife barged into my friend’s apartment to confront her.
I should say that today, it’s even worse. And in some instances, less discrete. No one campus in this University Town can claim that their students are all morally prim and proper. I know of students who do this kind of work as a “sideline.” I know of one who is actually engaged in it as her main source of her tuition. (As the story goes, when the old man asks, “what’s your schedule like? The lady eagerly, albeit wrongly, replies, “our midterms would be on… our finals would be…)
I do not know of any formal study that has been conducted to explore the “dark rooms” of campus prostitution but I and my friends have several anecdotal experiences/ eyewitness accounts of student sex workers.
Some dealings are discreet. A student –prosti would approach a storeowner, and borrow some money in a business-like transaction. The mode of payment would be a secret deal. Or she would ask him trough text messaging for a mobile phone load. Aand one thing leads to another.
Or a male student would approach a ‘client’ in a bar and ask to have a drink with him. Inside the dark moviehouse, he would slide beside the possible ‘mama’ and engage her in a conversation of sorts.
Sometimes, these students are so desperate, they would do anything for P100 per “session.” (Again, as the story goes, a DOM asks a student in unform if P50 is okay, and she asks if it could be increased a bit because she has yet to commute home about three of four towns away.) The better your school’s reputation for academic excellence, the higher the rate one could command. So the unwritten rule: Only those coming from “the leading school” can command 500 pesos or more per ‘session.’ (Now pray, tell me, who would want to admit his is the leading school?)
While students in this one university (this University town already has four), would indulge in this “adventure” for dire financial reasons, those from the affluent school are doing it for love. Genuine love.
For sophomore business student Albert, for instance, the monetary aspect is “just part of the thrill.” One would understand that Albert grew up in a family with an absentee father. He never felt deep bond with his medical doctor-dad who was almost always in the hospital operating on someone he hardly knew. Whatever interaction they had was always cold and distant. Or what do you expect from a serious hardworking father who, whenever he was able to come home when everybody still awake, would bark orders and expect strict obedience like he did in his profession? This was how the stern father made an impact on Albert’s young life. Of course, no one expected the campus hunk Albert to eventually fall for the “parental” love from his gay lover, a doctor like his dad, who showered him not just with gifts, but most importantly, quality time and the precious art of listening.
In Sheena’s case, her public school teacher-“stage mother” and OCW father compelled her to out and look for her own love. She had always felt the pressured to excel academically since she was in high school. She was never allowed to socialize for fear it would distract her from her studies. Sheena eventually graduated with honors and got a college scholarship that brought her here – away from home. Finally being in Dumaguete was “sheer freedom” from the regimented life under the careful watch of the stage mother. Like a bird finally out of a cage after the longest time, teenage Sheena has not ceased to flap her wings of freedom all through the night, jumping into the love and care of a “very nice and understanding” medrep who also happens to be very much married.
For Mike, meanwhile, all the perceived images of “good role models” have crumbled. His parents are separated. In third year high, his mentor-priest touched him. And now, one of his college instructors is making him a ” toyboy.” To find love, he intentionally sleeps around with whoever gives him full attention. Not to mention, whoever he sees is able to especially provide for his need for “extra money” to buy “that substance” that has become part of his system.
Our poor national economy is definitely not the only reason why our students are driven into prostitution. The lack of warmth and genuine concern from parents who care in the right way and at the right time should be counted as the main culprit. Then, there is that big failure of the “guardians of the moral fiber.” If we only realized that lessons imparted by high-tech multimedia gadgets and games are louder and more consistent than those at the pulpit. They’re even more intense than programs that promote the boring lessons of values education.
Let it be known that a child today needs a very high quality care experience at home. Young souls like Albert, Sheena or Mike and even my high school classmate in Agusan had stepped out of their homes without such a valuable foundation called parental love. When evidently working, LOVE at home comes without a price tag.

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