“What happened to us there was really traumatic. For me, it’s not humane, it’s slavery. We were allowed to sleep for only two hours. We are also not allowed to urinate. Our food was limited. Whatever the food they left, that’s what we can only eat,” human trafficking victim, Joan Masa said.
This has been the bitter experience of Joan Masa as a house helper in Abu Dhabi for 9 months.
Masa was a victim of an illegal recruiter in Laguna.
The said illegal recruiter offered her huge salary and a good employer — But the opposite was what happened.
Joan is just among the more than 100 distressed overseas Filipino workers the Philippine Embassy gives assistance to so they could return to the Philippines.
The government also gave each of them P15,000 worth of livelihood so they could start their own business.
“Actually the Philippine government paid for their fare, they were also given fare. These OFW’s are victims of human trafficking,” DFA Migrant Workers Affairs Usec. Sarah Lou Arriola said.
“We try to make their lives comfortable, so when they arrive here, they can have something to start new lives,” she added.
According to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), there are still a lot of undocumented Filipino workers in Abu Dhabi, but they are having difficulty determining their exact number because usually enter the Middle East using tourist visas.
The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) believes such a system can be avoided if the implementation of the Labor Cooperation Agreement of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the government of Abu Dhabi pushes through.
“Stated there is decent recruitment of the workers for UAE which means once the UAE Domestic Workers Law takes effect, like what Usec says, maybe in the first quarter of next year, all OFWs going to UAE will strictly undergo the process of the POEA strictly, there will no longer be visit and tourist visa deployment,” OWWA chief Hans Leo Cacdac said.
Based on the figures of the DFA, about 700 Filipino in Abu Dhabi were repatriated for illegal working there.
Philippine authorities continue to process the repatriation of other distressed OFWs in Abu Dhabi. – Joan Nano | UNTV News & Rescue