PH ENVOY:

2 Filipinas rescued from suspected trafficking in US in good condition

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05:21 PM May 7th, 2013

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By: Tarra Quismundo, May 7th, 2013 05:21 PM

MANILA, Philippines—Two Filipino women rescued last week from a Virginia home by United States authorities are in good condition as they remain in protective custody of US authorities to provide information for the ongoing investigation of the suspected human trafficking case, the Philippine mission in the US said Tuesday.

The Philippine Embassy in Washington D.C. said Tuesday that its consular officials on Monday visited the two Filipino women at a government office in Virginia to check on their condition and provide them with personal care essentials.

Consul General Ariel Peñaranda and Labor Attaché Luzviminda Padilla spoke for an hour with the two women to learn about the circumstances surrounding their April 30 rescue from the Virginia home where they worked and allegedly experienced abuse.

Details on the meeting were not disclosed in deference to the ongoing investigation.

“They (consular officials) went there to find out their condition and we were glad to learn that both of them are well. They’re in good physical condition and they are being treated well,” said Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Cuisia Jr. in a video the embassy posted on online video sharing site YouTube.

“They’re under the custody of US authorities, who are conducting an investigation to determine if they are in fact victims of human trafficking,” said the envoy.

He said the embassy is ready to provide legal assistance to the Filipinos, whose names continue to be withheld given the sensitivity of the case.

“We have assured the two Filipinas that (the Philippine) Embassy in Washington D.C. is prepared to extend assistance to them, particularly legal assistance should they require it, although they have been [by US authorities] that a public defender will be assisting them,” said Cuisia.

Cuisia also spoke to the women by phone during the consular visit.

During the visit, embassy officials also brought the women clothes, phone cards and other personal items, the post said in a statement sent to the Inquirer.

US immigration officials took protective custody of the women last week after receiving a tip that they were working under “circumstances that amounted to human trafficking” at the home of a Saudi attaché. It remains unclear where information that prompted the rescue came from.

CNN also reported that the women experienced poor working conditions, including being forced to work long hours without pay.

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