Thursday, August 28, 2008

Increase of Filipinas Trafficked to Singapore

From the Inquirer:

By Maila Ager

August 25, 2008

MANILA, Philippines -- A congressional inquiry into the worsening cases of Filipino trafficking in Singapore has been sought by a lawmaker at the House of Representatives. ARC Partylist Representative Narciso Santiago III said Congress should look into reports that Filipino trafficking in Singapore has reached an all-time high last year because of budget air fares, which aggravated the situation.

From 125 cases of human trafficking in 2006, the number went up by 70 percent or 212 cases in 2007, Santiago said, citing an alleged report by Philippine Ambassador to Singapore Belen Fule Anota.

He said the Philippine embassy in Singapore blamed this to the network of illegal recruiters and "quite possibly, syndicates across borders, which manage to persuade their recruits through various modes of deception and intimidation."

"Filipino victims are pushed to try their luck in Singapore not only because of poverty but also because of the promise of a lucrative job overseas," he said.

"The report states that the existence of a large number of
bars/pubs in Singapore's red light districts fuels the demand for Filipino women," he pointed out. Based on records, Santiago said, the modus operandi essentially has illegal recruiters promising young women non-existent jobs as waitresses or guest relations officers in restaurants and hotels in Singapore.

"They are each charged a minimum of $100 as recruitment fee in the Philippines and given roundtrip tickets where the return ticket is oftentimes fake, a fake invitation letter, and "show money" for presentation to Philippine immigration officials who scrutinize their financial capacity as tourists," he said.

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