In a dilapidated building nestled in the heart of Phnom Penh, two slumbering girls lay curled on a mattress in a room shaped like a matchbox. As the door to their room inside a safe house swung open, they remained balled up on their bed, lightly exhaling in unison. The pair are among eight between the ages of eight and 20 who reside at the Cambodian Women’s Development Agency’s (CDWA) Safe Shelter, created to protect up to 20 women and girls at a time from trafficking, rape and gender-based violence. >>>
In the first of a two-part series in the magazine for Filipino-American New Yorkers, Elton Lugay (with additional reporting from Cristina DC Pastor) looks at the struggles of transgender Filipina sex workers in New York, including some who are undocumented.
Among many Filipino transgender women in New York – out of an estimated transgender population of 12,500 in the city — prostitution is a way of life. Employment and survival are the usual reasons for being a sex worker, but advocates are finding out there are others.
Transgender sex workers are in high demand in the Middle East but the risks might not be worth the payout.In interviews with Foreign Policy, several such workers said their services are in big demand.