Beware of ‘sugar daddy’ sites exploiting crisis – Philippine Commission on Women
MANILA, Philippines — Think twice before responding to the overtures of an online “sugar daddy,” who offers financial assistance ostensibly in exchange for companionship or romance, the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) warned.
The PCW noted media reports of netizens signing up on so-called sugar daddy websites or social media accounts as the pandemic took away jobs, crippled businesses and left many desperate for cash.
The commission, an agency under the Office of the President, said it would coordinate with the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking on measures that can be taken against unlawful acts being committed using these platforms.
“(E)very woman has freedom to decide and choose for herself what she wants for her career and relationships,’’ the commission said in a statement on Thursday.
“However, her freedom of choice is affected by various factors, such as the presence of individuals and groups that exploit her vulnerabilities,” it added. “This is especially true during postdisaster situations and the COVID-19 pandemic, when many were forced out of work, students need gadgets for online classes, entrepreneurs suffer economic losses, and many are struggling to barely survive.”
“On the surface, it may seem that both parties have the power to dictate terms of the arrangement, but this may not be the real case. Sugar daddies may assert dominance and the sugar babies, in an attempt to earn money, may just succumb to the former’s wishes,” it said.
Worse, “platforms like this can attract or can be used by pedophiles, with potential signups from minors should they be able to fake credentials and join, and this opens opportunities for abuse and exploitation of children,” the commission said.
“Katy” believed that she had been targeted by a kind of person that the PCW warned about.
In September, she received this message from a stranger’s Instagram account: “Hi beautiful are you interested in sugar daddy online date with weekly allowance?”
The sender’s profile photo was that of a smiling, middle-aged Caucasian man. In his profile, he described himself as a “businessowner” who believes (quoting Victor Hugo’s “Les Misérables”) that “to love another person is to see the face of God.”
The only other photo posted on the account was that of a beagle roaming around a farm.
She ignored the message, but in the next few days she received similar invitations from two other unfamiliar accounts.
The “businessowner” account, the first sender, was already deleted when Katy checked on Saturday.
The PCW explained that arrangements with sugar daddies could be considered a form of prostitution since money—or “a commercial transaction”—is involved in exchange for romantic relations.
“[Prostitution] is an exploitative system that commodifies, objectifies and dehumanizes women, men and children who are being sold within it,” the agency said.
“We already heard horror stories where women fell victims to scammers and suffered trauma when [their] nude photos or videos were distributed or sold to porn sites without their consent,” it said.
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