Akbayan lawmaker asks DOJ to probe sex ‘trafficking’ of OFWs



MANILA, Philippines — Akbayan Representative Walden Bello has asked the Department of Justice to take a look at the allegations of sexual exploitation of overseas Filipino workers in the Middle East by Philippine officials, to ensure that the victims would get the justice they have been seeking.

Bello, in a statement, said he met with Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on Monday and she expressed concern that the experiences of OFWs might not only be a case of sexual exploitation but one of trafficking too.

The justice secretary, he said, would wait for the results of the investigations of the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Labor and Employment. Based on the results, the DOJ would come up with recommendations to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking, he said.

“And if it is indeed a case of trafficking, they will investigate not only our embassies, but will coordinate with the national government agencies in the countries mentioned to investigate the bigger half of the problem which happens outside the premises of our embassies,” he said.

He said the ordeal of the OFWs in the Middle East, allegedly at the hands of predatory Philippine officials, was “riddled with layers of injustice.”

He earlier bared allegations that Philippine labor overseas officials had been prostituting distressed OFWs in the Middle East, or had been telling them to exchange in the sex trade to earn money for their flight home.

“Abused and distressed migrant workers appealing for help, sold by the people whose mandate is to protect them, to the highest bidder. This is not a simple case of dereliction of duty that will be solved by administrative sanctions,” he said.

“More and more women are coming out with their stories, and they are asking for justice. And this is why we brought the issue to the DOJ,” he added.

Bello further said the DOJ could help resolve the root causes of the issue.

“The DOJ is best equipped to get to the root of the problem and bring the perpetrators of abuse to account. Only then will we be able to say that we have ensured the dignity and welfare of Filipinos who leave the country in search of a better life for their families,” he said.

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  • John atm

    Well if we really want results have somebody do it no De Lima!

  • disqusted0fu

    wrong person to ask. The Department of Selective Justice only caters to those powerful and influential individuals who need their protection. Bello may have to seek for investigation elsewhere.

  • sigena

    barking at wrong pig .

  • Political Jaywalker

    The DoJ should have taken the lead as soon as the scandal broke out because they have the NBI at their disposal, an agency fit for the job of investigating criminal activities.

    The problem with the heads of Philippine departments they treat it as if that is their feudal turf. Not that I doubt the integrity of the heads of these departments but delicadeza demands that if ever there is a need to investigate it should come from a third party like the NBI.

    Now, De Lima says she will have to wait for the outcome and base her recommendation on the outcome, now what kind of dumb red tape thinking is that? First of all the DFA and the DOLE are not in any way or even close to be an investigative agency unlike the DoJ thus they have NBI under them, now how in the name of pimping attaches can we expect an outcome that will render justice to the prostituted OFWs?

  • albert

    no comment na ang DOJ at CHR kapag mga allies ni pNOy ang may criminal activities..
    magaling lang mga yan kapag laban kay GMA na..

    DOJ and CHR double strandard..

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