Latest Stories

Gov’t urged to improve conditions at shelters for OFW


Susan Ople, president of the Blas F. Ople Policy Center, received the Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Hero Award from US Secretary of State John Kerry during formal rites in Washington DC. PHOTO FROM SUSAN OPLE * OPLE CENTER’S FB ACCOUNT/ FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—The government should create a specialized team to manage  shelters for distressed overseas Filipino workers, a migrant laborers’ welfare advocate said Saturday.

Susan Ople, president of the Pasay City-based Blas F. Ople Policy Center, said the team should “look into safeguards” within the shelters run by Philippine embassies abroad to make sure the OFWs are not subjected to further abuse.

“We need a parallel effort to review and improve the conditions of welfare centers for OFWs in various countries. These shelters and every inch of our foreign posts must be safe havens for distressed women workers overseas,” Ople, a former labor undersecretary, said in a statement.

She made the statement as the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Labor and Employment began their investigation into the alleged “sex-for-fly” racket allegedly perpetrated by Philippine diplomatic and labor officials on distressed OFWs, many of whom are runaways or undocumented workers.

Ople was in Washington DC last week where she and several others received awards from the United States Department of State for her efforts to combat human trafficking the Philippines. The award coincided with the release of the State Department’s annual Trafficking in Persons Report.

Ople cited a provision in the report which stated that the Philippine government “identified and provided protections to trafficking victims but did not make significant efforts to increase the availability of specialized services.”

She said the government’s Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking can come up with such specialized services, including the professional management of the different shelters overseas catering to distressed OFWs.

Ople said the alleged “sex-for-fly scheme” involved serious allegations that deserve “a sober and impartial probe.”

“The best defense against this and other allegations is for the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration to train and professionalize the staff that runs these shelters and maintain strict and unified standards on how embassy personnel can have access to the wards staying at these shelters,” she said.

“I am glad that the DFA and DOLE are swiftly reacting to these allegations, and that an impartial investigation shall soon take place. However, based on our experience at the Ople Center, such probes require the full cooperation of the aggrieved parties,” she added.

One of the cases handled by the Ople Center was the sexual harassment complaint filed by a domestic against ambassador to Kuwait Shulan Primavera.

Ople recalled that the complainant’s testimony, which was corroborated by other witnesses, revealed the practice by embassy personnel in Kuwait of getting household helpers from among the wards staying at the welfare center.

“Had it not been for her testimony, we would have been completely unaware of this practice which places the distressed OFWs in an awkward situation of having to serve in the households of the very persons tasked to ensure their immediate repatriation,” Ople explained.

She also underscored the importance of aftercare and onsite services for distressed OFWs, particularly the trafficked victims.

“Even here in the United States, there is now greater emphasis on aftercare programs and measures to protect the rights of trafficked survivors. I know that our workers overseas and all embassy personnel can benefit from a more consistent, professional and developmental approach in running these shelters, aligned with international best practices,” she said.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: DFA , OFW , Overseas Filipino workers , Sex for Flight , Sexual Abuse

  • bok

    The award will not change anything. Even prosecuting them. But a bullet to the head can.
    A secret task force to “eliminate” traffickers is the final solution.
    Track down human traffickers and put them all down.

  • TulisangDagat

    hunt the snakeheads and lock them down, jail them or bring them to the Iwahig Penal colony so they will suffer…..

  • bogli_anakdami

    ay sus ginoo… the flip gung gongs foreign affairs personnel are useless at best… and, they are the bestestestestest gung gongs flipland has to offer, di ba? yun lang…

  • albert

    PH OFWs = modern day slaves = slave nation..

  • 1Fz20

    In all countries in the middle east, there is always an OFW shelter where anytime hundreds of ofws are kept waiting, camping like refugees, squatters, fighting for bedspace, food,shelter, attention for their case….why do we have/maintain this kind of inefficiency setup? Just imagine the scenario, during the gulf war, the camping refugees was about 300meters deep radius surrounding the phil embassy and of course its jampacked inside the embassy, every space is occupied….and up to now, all phil embassies are like this….a breeding ground for abuse and neglect.

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. Filipinos second-shortest in Southeast Asia
  2. Afghan hospital guard kills 3 US doctors, including Fil-Am pediatrician
  3. HK victims to get P115M; traders raised money
  4. Career diplomat is new PH consul general in Los Angeles
  5. Senator hopes PH will also get same vow
  6. Filipina, 51, shot dead by 24-year-old American boyfriend
  7. US4GG: Aquino should ask Obama for TPS approval, drone technology
  8. Obama to visit Filipino soldiers in Fort Bonifacio
  9. Believe it or not: Filipinos love US more than Yanks
  10. Abandoned in Malta,15 PH seamen return
  1. Filipina, 51, shot dead by 24-year-old American boyfriend
  2. Japan presents $57-B ‘dream plan’ to solve Metro congestion
  3. Hong Kong accepts PH apology; sanctions also lifted
  4. Japan says visa-free entry still a plan
  5. 85% of Filipinos love US – survey
  6. 10 US presidents who visited the PH (and what they said)
  7. WHO warns vs spread of MERS-Cov, urges vigilance in taking precautions
  8. 19 Ukrainians, Russians, Filipinas rescued in bar raid
  9. 150 Filipino teachers in Maryland to lose jobs, visas
  10. Japan mulls no visa rule for Filipinos
  1. US to China: We will protect Philippines
  2. Japan mulls no visa rule for Filipinos
  3. DFA grants visa-free privilege to 7 countries
  4. China warned: Don’t try to tow away BRP Sierra Madre
  5. Back home in Manila, and feeling out of place
  6. Filipina, 51, shot dead by 24-year-old American boyfriend
  7. Japan presents $57-B ‘dream plan’ to solve Metro congestion
  8. China: PH tarnishing Beijing’s international image
  9. What’s inside BRP Sierra Madre?
  10. Hong Kong accepts PH apology; sanctions also lifted


  • Cayetano to DOJ: Bare Napoles’ list of ‘pork’ officials
  • Drunk passenger triggers Bali hijack alert
  • Businesswoman allegedly killed by husband, brother-in-law
  • Roxas suspended from golf club for outburst over P5,000 guest fee
  • SC reschedules oath-taking of new lawyers
  • Sports

  • Guiao fined P100,000 for ‘mongoloid’ comment vs Meralco forward
  • Hawks and Grizzlies revel in home wins
  • Floyd: Manny’s power gone
  • Michael Phelps loses to Lochte in comeback meet
  • Sharapova advances to Stuttgart quarterfinals
  • Lifestyle

  • ‘Recovered’ Banksy works on display ahead of sale
  • Marinduque: Visiting the ‘palm of the ocean’
  • First at Vatican in 60 years
  • How Jing Monis Salon gave Krissy the pixie
  • Want to be a supermodel? Work on your inner beauty, says Joey Espino
  • Entertainment

  • Paul McCartney to play at Candlestick concert
  • Kristoffer Martin: from thug to gay teen
  • Has Ai Ai fallen deeply with ‘sireno?’
  • California court won’t review Jackson doctor case
  • Cris Villonco on play adapted from different medium
  • Business

  • BDO nets P5.5 B in Q1
  • Pacquiao may be 2013 top taxpayer
  • Emperador nets P1.7 B in Q1
  • PAL hailed for ban on shark fin cargo
  • BSP to change tint of P100 bill
  • Technology

  • Cloud strength helps Microsoft earnings top Street
  • Vatican announces hashtag for April 27 canonizations
  • Enrile in Masters of the Universe, Lord of the Rings?
  • Top Traits of Digital Marketers
  • No truth to viral no-visa ‘chronicles’
  • Opinion

  • Corruption not invincible after all
  • Editorial Cartoon, April 25, 2014
  • No deal, Janet
  • Like making Al Capone a witness vs his gang
  • MERS-CoV and mothers
  • Global Nation

  • Plane lands at Bali airport in suspected hijacking—Indonesia air force
  • Obama lands in Seoul as N. Korea nuclear test fears grow
  • Militant protests vs Obama, US set
  • Filipinos second-shortest in Southeast Asia
  • China welcomes PH apology
  • Marketplace