The Philippines

Is selling sex criminalised?

Yes sex work and profiting from sex work are illegal under the Revised Penal Code.

Is buying sex criminalised?

No

Is organising/managing criminalised?

Yes although some level of toleration. Brothel-keeping is technically illegal as is on-street "pimping", which is a form of vagrancy. But many local authorities license entertainment venues knowing that sex is sold on the premises or at least that sex workers meet clients there and conduct business off premises. These local regulations include requirements for "entertainment workers" to have regular STI checking and then to be issued with health certificate which licenses them to work in the venue. Sex work venues operating outside of a licensed entertainment venue would be illegal.

What other laws are used disproportionately against sex workers?

Vagrancy offences used extensively against street based sex workers, soliciting for sex is listed as a specific form of vagrancy.

Is there mandatory HIV/STI testing?

Yes to a degree. Workers in licensed entertainment venues are required to undergo mandatory STI testing and failure to be tested means that they won't be issued with the medical certificate that allows them to work in the venue. HIV testing though is only done by consent because there is a law (AIDS Prevention and Control Act 1998) which prohibits compulsory HIV testing.

Is there mandatory registration?

Not in national law although there are some reports of local ordinances that require mandatory registration - see p.150 of Sex Work and the Law in Asia

If sex work is regulated, is it in line with other work, or are the regulations unfair or overly restrictive?

Sex work not really regulated as such. Authorities treat it as a public health issue and are aware that sex is sold in entertainment venues. Unclear from research thus far if all "entertainment venues" are sex-related or whether a sex-related entertainment venue is subject to same rules as a non-sex work-related entertainment venue.

Is sex work conflated with trafficking and/or people smuggling?

Yes, the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act 2003 gives a very broad definition of trafficking to include "maintain or hire" a person to engage in sex work, which could cover consensual arrangements between sex workers and managers

Is sex work recognised as work?

No

Is sex work decriminalised with limited regulation?

No

Sources/further reading

<p>UNDP et al (2012) Sex Work and the Law in Asia and the Pacific: Laws, HIV and human rights in the context of sex work, available at <a href="http://www.undp.org/content/dam/undp/library/hivaids/English/HIV-2012-S…; UNDP (2015) HIV and the Law in South-East Asia, available at <a href="http://www.asia-pacific.undp.org/content/dam/rbap/docs/Research%20&%20P…; Revised Penal Code Phillipines - <a href="http://www.un.org/depts/los/LEGISLATIONANDTREATIES/PDFFILES/PHL_revised…; Parmanand, S. (2019). The Philippine Sex Workers Collective: struggling to be heard, not saved. Anti-trafficking review, (12), 57-73. - see section on sex work law in Philippines</p>

Extra info

While selling and organising/managing sex work is criminalised some local authorities license entertainment venues knowing that sex is sold on the premises or at least that sex workers meet clients there and conduct business off premises. These local regulations include requirements for "entertainment workers" to have regular STI checking and to be issued with health certificate which licenses them to work in the venue. Sex work venues operating outside of a licensed entertainment venue are illegal.

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