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OFWs in Saudi Arabia forced to sell their blood

/ 02:41 AM October 16, 2011

A number of jobless and undocumented overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Saudi Arabia are selling their own blood to hospitals just to survive, according to Migrante-Middle East (M-ME).

M-ME regional coordinator John Leonard Monterona said undocumented OFWs who had previously sought assistance from the group confirmed to him that they had to sell their blood either to raise funds for their daily sustenance or to send money to their families back home in the Philippines.

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Monterona cited the case of 30-year-old “Roy” from Tondo, Manila, who arrived in Saudi Arabia in 2009 to work as a glass cutter.

“After months of working and not being paid his salary, he was forced to run away from his employer and has since become undocumented,” said Monterona in a statement.

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Monterona said that like many other undocumented OFWs, Roy was jumping from one part-time job to another.

“It’s hard because I have no permanent job, it’s hard to be a TNT (tago ng tago). That’s why every month, I sell my blood just to have money which I can send to my family back home,” Monterona quoted Roy as saying.

Miko, another OFW, also had the same experience, Monterona said.

Miko, 38, used to work as a store merchandiser in Riyadh. But he was forced to resort to blood-selling when he was terminated from his job and could not find another one for three months.

Monterona said there was nothing wrong with donating blood. “It is in fact a noble and humanitarian act,” he said.

He noted that some hospitals in Riyadh had urged Saudi nationals and expatriate workers to donate blood. In return, donors receive an “honorarium.”

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TAGS: jobless OFWs, Migrante-Middle East, Overseas Filipino workers, Saudi Arabia, selling blood, undocumented OFWs
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