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Columban confirms Australians' key role in Philippines under-age sex trade

Irish Columban Fr Shay Cullen, who has lived in the Angeles are in the northern Philippines for 32 years, has told The Age newspaper that the majority of bars in the city are run by Australians.

The bars are the focal point of the underage sex trade in the region once home to the big United States Clark Field air base. It is now dominated by Australian bar operators and sustained by Australian tourists seeking cheap sex, often with children.

"We reckon between 50 and 60% of the bars in Angeles are Australian owned," said Fr Cullen. "They are registered in the names of their Filipino partners, but when you look behind the screen you'll find it's often Australians in charge."

"These bars are also a magnet for Australian tourists," he said. "We've always seen in Angeles that a large proportion of the customers are Australians."

Fr Cullen runs the Preda Foundation, a child protection agency that is now sheltering many abused children.

While much of the trade is legal, Angeles City is acknowledged by welfare workers and child protection agencies as a favourite regional destination for child abusers.

The Age

Preda Foundation
Vatican observer warns against "lawless" sex tourism (8/4/03)
World Tourism Organisation Taskforce to Protect Children from Sexual Exploitation in Tourism
Vatican targeting sex abuse in world tourism (18/3/02)
Sexual exploitation of children results from erosion of values (Monsignor Piero Monni)

15 Sep 2003