DFA warns OFWs vs human trafficking rings using social media
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Saturday warned Filipinos seeking jobs abroad to be wary about sex trafficking syndicates that lure victims using social media in the guise of offering work in Malaysia, Singapore, and other countries.
“We urge our kababayan to think twice before applying for the various job opportunities abroad that are being offered online,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said.
“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 added.
DFA issued this warning after 27 Filipino women, according to the Philippine Embassy in Malaysia, were repatriated on Wednesday after being rescued in August from a sex trafficking syndicate operating in Johor Bahru.
In a report submitted to Cayetano, Ambassador Charles Jose said that the Malaysian police, learning of the situation of the 27 women, immediately responded and raided the apartment where the women were staying in Johor Baru, on August 15. Johor Baru is just one hour away from Sinagpore.
They also arrested the Filipino caretaker who was later released.
The victims, according to interviews conducted by Embassy representatives and the Philippine National Police Women and Children Protection Center (PNP-WCPC), were trafficked to Malaysia and Singapore in four batches between June and July.
The victims said that they were recruited in the Philippines to work as “promodizers” selling liquor to customers in four establishments in Singapore on commission basis.
But according to the victims, aside from selling liquor, they were also forced to offer sexual services as well.
Ambassador Jose said that the victims were “mostly recruited through social media for work in Singapore” but were told that the women “will enter and exit the country from Malaysia and will be there only on tourist visas.”
Cayetano advised Filipinos who are seeking jobs abroad to verify job offers first with the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) or the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) before making their applications. /muf
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