Locsin revamps Philippine embassy staff in Syria
MANILA, Philippines — Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. overhauled the staff of the Philippine Embassy in Damascus, following allegations of “poor treatment” of Filipino trafficking victims staying in the embassy shelter in Syria.
Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Undersecretary Brigido Dulay said on Twitter the embassy’s new staff will also “serve as reinforcements for Filipino trafficking victims in Syria.”
“Secretary [Locsin] sends a new team to replace personnel under administrative investigations, and back up Filipino trafficking victims in Syria,” the DFA also said in a separate tweet.
Secretary @teddyboylocsin sends a new team to replace personnel under administrative investigations, and back up Filipino trafficking victims in Syria following the deployment of a woman human rights lawyer to head the Philippine embassy in Syria.#DFAForgingAhead pic.twitter.com/u1KJkZnkzKFEATURED STORIES
— DFA Philippines (@DFAPHL) January 27, 2021
According to both Dulay and the DFA, a female human rights lawyer has been assigned to head the country’s foreign post in Syria.
The deployment of the new staff at the embassy came after the DFA launched an investigation into allegations that Filipino trafficking victims were treated poorly in the embassy shelter.
This developed after The Washington Post reported about Filipino women who were promised work in the United Arab Emirates but were instead trafficked to Syria, where their employers would physically and sexually abuse them.
The Washington Post report also cited the accounts of Filipino victims who said they experienced poor treatment at the shelter in the Philippine Embassy in Damascus when they fled there to get away from their abusive employers.
In a previous statement, the DFA said it is “continuously taking measures to ensure the safety and wellbeing of Filipino victims of trafficking sheltered” at the Filipino Workers Resource Center in the embassy.
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