MANILA, Philippines — A migrant workers’ group has urged the government to look into the plight of at least 20 Filipino women who are allegedly being abused by their recruiter in the eastern Saudi Arabian city of Dammam.
Migrante International said two of the domestic helpers were rescued last June 23, even as it called for a Philippine government investigation into the matter.
“They were able to tell about their harrowing ordeal while still in the hands of their Arab recruiter. The said victims were raped by Abu Khalid and we are now very much worried of the situation of other
Pinays who were left behind in the said premises. Twenty lives are at stake here and the government should act on this immediately," Migrante chairman Garry Martinez said on the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines website (www.cbcpnews.com).
He said the two unnamed domestic helpers are now staying in the Philippine Embassy in Saudi Arabia.
But he said the other Filipinas were detained at the Maqpoon Belahodood General Service Company’s office, a recruitment agency owned and being managed by a certain Abu Khalid.
Migrante identified the Manila-based recruitment agency as AFT Company whose office is located in Ermita district.
The company was closed on Sunday.
“We demand that the Arroyo administration conduct an immediate rescue mission to save the 20 Filipinas who are still being held in the harem of Abu Khalid. The Philippine embassy in Saudi Arabia should also ensure that the said Filipinas be brought to a hospital for medical treatment and that criminal cases be filed against Abu Khalid," he said.
On Saturday, Migrante presented to the media another survivor, domestic helper Aileen Baldiray, who was also detained by Abu Khalid’s recruitment office last May.
“Abu Khalid also tried to rape me. It was about 9:00 p.m. when he summoned me to his office downstairs. Upon entering the room, he told me to sit down in front of his desk and casually told me of his sex life. When he noticed that I was already getting nervous, Abu Khalid immediately took off his clothes. I grabbed a pen that I saw in his desk and warned him that if he pursues with his evil plan I would be forced to stab him," Badiray narrated.
Before that, she said her fellow Filipinas also staying in the same building already warned her about Abu Khalid’s real intention in summoning her.
She said other Filipino women were also raped in the same office, almost every night whenever Abu Khalid calls them.
“Khalid became reluctant when he saw me with the pen. He then shouted at me to get out of the office and told me that I was the only Filipina in the building he was not able to ‘taste’ yet and that he will make sure that he will be able to rape me next time around," she said.
Badiray said she escaped and stayed for a while in the Philippine Embassy before repatriating to the Philippines last June 7.
Migrante called on the families of the victims to contact Migrante so that the local recruitment agencies in Manila should also be held accountable.
“We likewise urge President Arroyo to put on hold its intensifying labor exportation program. The biggest number of OFWs leaving the country is domestic helpers and their main destination is Saudi Arabia, a country that doesn’t even recognize the right of domestic helpers to have a day-off," Martinez said. - GMANews.TV