THE Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) warned Filipinos seeking jobs abroad on sex trafficking syndicates using social media to offer work in Malaysia, Singapore, and other countries.
The DFA issued the warning after the Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur repatriated on Wednesday 27 Filipinas who were earlier rescued from a sex trafficking syndicate operating in Johor Bahru. “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 S. 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,” Cayetano said.
The Secretary said Filipinos who want to work abroad should first check job offers with the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) or the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) before applying for them.
In his report to Cayetano, Ambassador Charles C. Jose said he directed Police Attaché Senior Supt. Dario Gunabe to request the assistance of the Royal Malaysian Police as soon as the Embassy learned of the situation of the 27 women.
Jose said Malaysian police immediately responded and raided the apartment where the women were staying in Johor Baru, located an hour from Singapore, and arrested the Filipino caretaker who was later released.
The Embassy representatives and the Philippine National Police Women and Children Protection Center (PNP-WCPC) said the victims were trafficked to Malaysia and Singapore in four batches between June and July. The women said they were recruited in the Philippines as “promodizers” or selling liquor to customers in four establishments in Singapore. They said they did this on a commission basis but were made to do sexual services as well.
Majority of the women were recruited through social media for work in Singapore but were told they will enter and exit the country from Malaysia as tourists.