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"There is no such thing as voluntarism for the children," says Nicanor Arriola, the programme director of Bahay Tuluyan.

"She had such low esteem of herself that she did not seem able to see any alternative," Mr Arriola explains.

He frequently hears horrific tales of children being raped and beaten.

Most of these children have been working as prostitutes and have encountered Western males in rather different circumstances.

Some five minutes' drive from the centre, cameras are rolling as the actress Kerry Fox makes her way into a seedy hotel in the company of the actor John Hurt.

The number of child prostitutes is growing by the day.

Amihan Abuela, executive secretary of the End Child Prostitution in Asian Tourism organisation, says it is conservatively estimated that there are one million child prostitutes in Asia, of whom some 60,000 are in the Philippines.

She is cradling a very small baby provided by one of the many Vietnamese boat people in the Philippines who have been recruited to act as extras in a BBC drama being filmed in Manila.

The drama, called Saigon Baby, could be about the illegitimate baby of one of thechildren at the Bahay Tuluyan.

They cannot go to the police for protection because the police have a record of both harassing and even raping child prostitutes.

Meanwhile, the circle of degradation widens as more and more children are lured into prostitution by children who have been selling their own bodies but have learned that they can make more money as pimps. They don't want to be abused, but they are trapped'.

Nowadays, however, most child abusers are local men whose ignorance leads them to believe that children are less likely to be affected by the HIV virus than adult prostitutes.