PH repatriates 27 sex trafficking victims from Malaysia

MANILA -- The Philippine Embassy in Malaysia on Wednesday repatriated 27 women, who were rescued from a sex trafficking syndicate in Malaysia, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Saturday.

Ambassador Charles Jose said the victims were rescued on Aug. 15 after the Royal Malaysian Police raided the apartment where they were staying in Johor Bahru, Malaysia.

A Filipino caretaker of the apartment was arrested but was later released after determining he was not involved in the trafficking of the women.

In interviews conducted by embassy representatives and the Philippine National Police's Women and Children Protection Center (PNP-WCPC), the victims said they were trafficked to Malaysia and Singapore in four batches between June and July.

According to the women, they were recruited in the Philippines to be so-called promodizers, 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.

The women were mostly recruited through social media for work in Singapore, but were told that they will enter and exit the country from Malaysia but were there only on tourist visas, Jose said.

He said since investigations on the Philippine side are ongoing, the embassy cannot divulge the identities of the persons involved.

The envoy, meanwhile, reminded Filipinos wishing to work in Malaysia to be wary of job offers from recruiters, who will have them enter the country as tourists but with the promise of securing work visas for them upon arrival.

According to the DFA, syndicates are notorious in luring jobseekers with work offers in Malaysia, Singapore, and other countries through social media.

We urge our kababayan (countrymen) to think twice before applying for the various job opportunities abroad that are being offered online, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said in a statement.

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 said.

Cayetano said Filipinos who want to work abroad should first check the job offers with the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency or the Department of Labor and Employment before applying for them. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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