Thursday, August 21, 2008

Philippines: 23 Women Rescued from Recruiters

From the Inquirer:

By Nancy C. Carvajal

August 21, 2008

MANILA, Philippines – Twenty-three women, including a minor, believed to be victims of human trafficking were rescued by the police from a five-story building in Valenzuela City on Tuesday.

Valenzuela police chief, Senior Supt. Ranier Idio, told Inquirer that the women were promised jobs abroad by Andy and Thelma Que, owners of Philquest Agency.

The victims, who had been recruited from various provinces in Visayas and Mindanao, were temporarily staying in the building while waiting for their applications to be processed.

Idio said at least 300 women were staying in the building, all of them waiting for their chance to go abroad.

The victims, however, were not allowed out of the building as they had been unable to pay the fees demanded by the couple. One of the victims even alleged that Andy Que had molested her several times.

The couple was later charged with qualified trafficking in persons and large-scale illegal recruitment. They, however, denied all the charges against them.

“They were promised jobs abroad. But they claimed some of them had been staying in the building for more than a year and worked as housemaids for the couple who recruited them from the province without being paid,” Idio said.

He added that it took two hours before the team composed of operatives from the Central Investigation Detection Group and the Anti-Illegal Recruitment Task Force of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration and local police were allowed to go inside the building.

The operation stemmed from a complaint filed by Nora Salik, one of the victims recruited by the Ques, who was able to escape from the building.

According to Salik, she had changed her mind about working overseas and told the couple that she just wanted to go back home to Maguindanao province. The Ques, however, allegedly refused to let her go unless she paid them P10,000 for letting her stay in the “dormitory.”

No comments:

Post a Comment