This is the fifth post in this series. You can see all of the posts by clicking on the Arts Aftercare tag.
Required Reading: I highly recommend reading the Wikipedia page on Human Trafficking in the Philippines. It will give you better context for my story and the situation in places like Angeles City.
The final destination of our trip was Angeles City, the second largest sex tourism destination in the world. This was a difficult way to end the trip, but at the same time, I’m really glad I didn’t start the trip with this. It was a dark, heavy place, and I was definitely out of my comfort zone.
While I was taking pictures in front of a bar on the Walking Street, a man approached me and asked me to take his picture with a group of bar girls (pictured below). After the group shot, and an off-color comment, the man introduced Becker and I to his girlfriend, who is in the next picture. He told us what a great time was waiting to be had in Angeles, and we chatted with him for a few minutes. Before we parted ways, he asked how he could get copies of the pictures I took. He gave us his email address, and after we returned to our hotel that night, we looked him up on Facebook. Turns out, his name is Michael Wiener, and he is a former New Mexico State Senator, and the current County Commissioner in Bernalillo County.
Angeles was a strange place, because for the previous 8 days in the Philippines, we saw very few caucasians. As soon as we arrived in Angeles, we saw hundreds of middle aged and older white men everywhere we went with young Filipino women. I saw some extremely disturbing things, and felt a heavy darkness in Angeles. I don’t really know if it is necessary to go into any detail about all of that stuff, but I also don’t really feel like talking about it any further. I think these images say what I feel needs to be said.
This is the one picture from this series that is not from Angeles. Pegasus is in Manila, but it fit so well with this series, and I had to find a way to show it. The sign says it all. Pegasus is a high end club that is known for selling very young girls. They charge $500 just to get in the door.
Bernalillo County Commissioner Michael Wiener.