Thursday, July 10, 2008

Philippines: Ex-Diplomat Implicated in Human Trafficking

From Gulf News:

By Gilbert Felongco

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has expressed concern over the alleged involvement of a former envoy in a human trafficking ring. In a statement, the foreign office said the DFA's position against human trafficking, slavery and forced labour had been consistent.

The statement came in reaction to reports implicating former Philippine Ambassador to the United Nations, Lauro Baja, in the racket. A civil case was filed before the New York Southern District Court against Baja, his wife Norma, daughter Elizabeth Baja-Facundo, as well as the envoy's travel agency Labaire International.

The suit stemmed from complaints of trafficking, forced labour, and racketeering by their maid, Marichu Suarez Baoanan.

In the civil case she filed against the Bajas and their travel agency, Baoanan, a registered nurse, said she had paid P250,000 to her recruiters so that she could enter the US legally.

While serving as maid to the family that facilitated her entry to the US, she said she was to serve them 16 hours a day and was paid only $100 for three months of work.

Read the full article

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