THE Philippine Overseas Employment Administration has warned that sex outside marriage is a crime in the United Arab Emirates.
The POEA directed the warning to overseas Filipino workers in the UAE.
In a news advisory, POEA said single women and men who are in a relationship and have plans to live together should first get married so they can live in the Emirates as husband and wife.
Being a Muslim country governed by the Sharia Law, the UAE considers living together without the benefit of marriage illegal and is punishable by three to six months imprisonment and eventual deportation.
The Philippine Consulate in Dubai reported that a number of expatriate couples, including Filipinos, are now behind bars for violations of this nature.
The Consulate has received numerous requests for repatriation from Filipinos in Dubai and Northern Emirates who have children out of wedlock. They believe that the Consulate can simply endorse them to Dubai Immigration without having them detained. Unfortunately, immorality is not negotiable under the UAE penal system.
Pregnancies and childbirth outside marriage carry a punishment of six months in jail, deportation, and a lifetime ban.
The Department of Foreign Affairs said it has a Legal Assistance Fund to help overseas Filipinos in distress for their litigation expenses, court fees, and bail bond. However, those who are entitled to the legal assistance fund are Filipinos accused of murder or any case that has a sentence of life imprisonment or death.