Philippines Embassy repatriates 27 sex trafficking victims
Published on: Monday, September 24, 2018

Kota Kinabalu: A total of 27 Filipino women who where trafficked to Malaysia and Singapore in four batches between June and July were rescued and repatriated to the Philippines by the Philippine Embassy in Malaysia on Wednesday.The victims were rescued from a sex trafficking syndicate in Johor Baru.

Ambassador Charles Jose said the victims were rescued on Aug. 15 after the Royal Malaysian Police raided the apartment where they were staying.

He said the Filipino caretaker of the apartment was arrested but was later released after determining he was not involved in trafficking the women.

"In interviews conducted by embassy representatives and the Philippine National Police's Women and Children Protection Center (PNP-WCPC), the victims said they were trafficked to Malaysia and Singapore in four batches between June and July," Jose stated in the report submitted to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in Manila.

According to the women, they were recruited in the Philippines to be so-called "promodizers", selling liquor to customers in four establishments in Singapore.

They said they did this on a commission basis but were made to do sexual services as well.

"The women were mostly recruited through social media for work in Singapore, but were told that they will enter and exit the country from Malaysia but were there only on tourist visas," Jose said.

He said since investigations on the Philippine side are ongoing, the embassy cannot divulge the identities of the persons involved.

The envoy, meanwhile, reminded Filipinos wishing to work in Malaysia to be wary of job offers from recruiters, who will have them enter the country as tourists but with the promise of securing work visas for them upon arrival.

According to the DFA, syndicates are notorious in luring jobseekers with work offers in Malaysia, Singapore, and other countries through social media.

"We urge our kababayan (countrymen) to think twice before applying for the various job opportunities abroad that are being offered online," Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said in a statement.

"There are numerous cases of Filipino jobseekers who apply for these online job offers but end up in virtual bondage in a number of countries abroad," he said.

Cayetano said Filipinos who want to work abroad should first check the job offers with the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency or the Department of Labour and Employment before applying for them.

Last August 11, it was reported that policemen from the Turtle Islands Municipal Police Station in Tawi-Tawi in Southern Mindanao rescued 5 victims of alleged human trafficking who escaped their captors.

The women – in their 20s and 30s and from Manila and Bulacan – illegally entered Sandakan, Sabah through exits from Southern Palawan and Zamboanga City months earlier.

The women, who were promised better-paying jobs by recruiters, were forced to work as waitresses, domestic workers or as bar girls.

They were also matched with Chinese or Malaysian nationals who would become their benefactors.

The 5 women fled on a speedboat and were rescued by the police and Philippine Coast Guard near the border of Sandakan and Taganak. - Nikko Fabian


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