Date of Graduation

Spring 5-18-2019

Document Access

Project/Capstone - Global access

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Asia Pacific Studies (MAPS)


College of Arts and Sciences


Asia Pacific Studies

First Advisor

Brian Komei Dempster

Second Advisor

Jason Luger


This paper examines the economic, geographic and cultural factors that perpetuate sex trafficking in the Philippines along with the impact of the dominant victim narrative on affected Philippine women. Along with analyzing this complex problem, the research evaluates and critiques current trends of policy support and law in the Philippines, and their level of efficacy in resolving the issue of sex trafficking and promoting agency and survivorship for the women involved. Current solutions and support from both legal and non-governmental organizations’ (NGO)are, to a large extent, rendered ineffective due to a simplified narrative of loss and victimization that is perpetuated by policymakers. With this stigma placed on Philippine survivors of sex trafficking, both domestic and overseas workers, this research strives to answer the question: How can Philippine policy engagement promote sex trafficking survivor agency that moves beyond an established victim narrative? This research outlines the process and problems of trafficking that trap Filipinas in a vicious cycle, the laws initially meant to protect trafficking victims, and the current methods NGOs have implemented to support victims. This paper seeks to reveal the success of current models, and what needs to be improved upon, not just for the betterment of current survivors, but for all those who will be impacted in the future.