Claire Wallerstein

Guardian Of The Angels

By Claire Wallerstein

The Philippines is a target for sex tourist. Thousands of children are exploited and degraded by pedophiles. A journalist in Manila profiles a missionary priest who has despaired of the authorities and taken a personal initiative against the trade.

A middle-aged tourist in a baseball cap sits at the sleazy bar sipping a beer, and watches the young Filipina dancers gyrating suggestively on stage. After a while, the owner of the joint sidles up to him. “You like the girls? You wanna take one out for the night? Only 500 pesos.” “Maybe, but I really wanted something younger.” “No problem”, replies the proprietor. “I’ve got girls, 14, 15 – virgins too. But they’ll cost you more.”

Fr Shay Cullen

This scene is typical of the sordid deals brokered any night of the week in the girlie bars of Angeles City, capital of the Philippines’ thriving child sex trade. There is just one thing which is not as it seems. The tourist in the baseball cap is not a pedophile -- he is a priest. And in his shirt picket is a tiny, hidden camera which may have recorded enough evidence to put this brothel, one of a staggering 200 in Angeles, out of business.