Sofia said she also spent on a new cellular phone, clothes and even shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride) to keep her up all night.Aside from other clients, Sofia is being maintained by her “boyfriend”—a 61-year-old Norwegian who paid her tuition this year.Although she had no plans of going back to school, Miles acknowledged that her chosen career would not last forever.
CEBU CITY—Twenty-year-old Sophia looks like a typical colegiala who has a dream of becoming a respected lawyer someday.Barely 5-foot tall, she keeps a low profile at the Catholic-run school in Cebu City, where she is a freshman student, as she doesn’t want to call anybody’s attention to herself.“Sometimes, I can buy all I want, but I never took drugs,” she said.Asked if she was scared of catching the virus that causes AIDS, Miles said she was confident that she was healthy since she uses condoms for every sexual contact and has a regular checkup every three months.It is because she keeps a secret from her classmates: She sells her flesh to pay her school bills.
Sofia works as a GRO (guest relations officer) in an elite night club and offers sexual services to men, mostly foreigners. I will finish my studies no matter what,” she said. According to Julius Bungcaras, head of the International Justice Mission (IJM) Cebu’s Community Mobilization for Churches and Students, 10-15 percent of every 1,000 students (10 out of 100) resort to prostitution.Other reasons include financial independence, materialism and peer pressure where students feel the need to have what their friends have, he said.Sofia’s story Sofia, who hails from Negros Oriental, was left to the care of her aunt when she was 12 years old after her father died and her mother abandoned her.The IJM is a human rights organization that rescues victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression.Bungcaras said that based on the cases he had handled, students were prostituted not only because they needed to pay the tuition.For three years, she did odd jobs—from housemaid to salesgirl—so she could save enough money for her tuition.