Shelter from the Storm

Hannah Reyes Morales

In the Philippines, displaced women and girls wind up in sex trade after typhoons

‘Shelter from the Storm’ examines how the displacement of Filipina women after frequent typhoons have made them more vulnerable to sexual violence and trafficking. The Philippines has constantly ranked among the most at risk countries to climate change—five of the ten deadliest typhoons to hit the Philippines have come in the last decade. The project follows women from Eastern Visayas, ground zero for Typhoon Haiyan, and the poorest region in the Philippines. 

We followed Jojo and Gemma, sisters who had to return to the sex trade following typhoon Haiyan. We documented their lives in Angeles City, the ‘Supermarket of Sex.’ We also visited halfway homes in Manila where we documented stories of women like Nikka, who claims she was pimped out to foreigners by her stepmother in an evacuation center after Haiyan hit. She was 12. We also met Tina, who was sold to a cyber sex den when she was pregnant at 16.

They are among the Filipino women who wound up in the Philippines' sex trade following catastrophic natural disasters that devastated homes and livelihoods. The UN reports that at least 5,000 women were subjected to sexual violence in the first month after Haiyan. ‘Shelter’ takes an intimate look at the lives of these women, and examines the shelters they took from the storms that came.

More Less