Typhoons and Trafficking

Sex trafficking in the Philippines


Three months after Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Philippines, The Compulsive arrived in Tacloban with human-trafficking expert Emily Reid to create a film about the impact on the local woman.

Human traffickers had already moved into the area and were taking advantage of desperate locals, many of whom had lost their homes and livelihoods. The international community had descended on the town to help with the clean-up and recovery. Streets were being cleared, buildings were being torn down, locals were setting up makeshift shops in front of their destroyed businesses. The Filipinos had an incredibly air of optimism about them as they faced the daunting task of recovering their city.

We only had a week in Tacloban to shoot the film so it was imperative that we connected with locals in order to tell their story. We here at The Compulsive believe that building relationships with the people in our films is vital to create an engaging story. Within seven days, we had conducted interviews and shot footage with both women and men who had been impacted by the typhoon, including fishermen who’d lost their boats and homes, women who’d been trafficked and a girl still stuck in a prostitution ring.

We conducted other interviews, filmed in and around Tacloban and had all the material translated while staying in a party demolished hotel. After a week, we flew to Singapore to present a 20-minute rough cut of the film at a conference. It was just nine days since we’d landed in the Philippines.

The refined version, which was later produced using the same footage, is shown here.


  • Client : The Compulsive + Shiran Fozdar Program
  • Date : March 1, 2016
  • Tags : OUR FILMS