DFA Warns Vs Jobs Offered Via Social Media As It Repatriates 27 Sex Trafficking Victims

22 September 2018 – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is warning Filipinos seeking jobs abroad against 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,” Secretary 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 Secretary 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.

Ambassador Jose said Malaysian police immediately responded and raided the apartment where the women were staying in Johor Baru, located an hour from Singapore, on 15 August and arrested the Filipino caretaker who was later released.

In interviews conducted by the Embassy representatives and the Philippine National Police 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,” Ambassador Jose added.

The envoy 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