Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Sex Trafficking from the Philippines to Malaysia

From the Inquirer:

MANILA, Philippines—A non-government organization advocating migrant workers' welfare urged the government on Thursday to forge an anti-human trafficking agreement with Malaysia following the rescue of Filipino women forced to become prostitutes in the Malaysian state of Sabah.

The Blas F. Ople Policy Center quoted recent media reports from Malaysia relating how the eight Filipino women, allegedly recruited from Zamboanga about three months ago to work as waitresses, were forced to work as prostitutes upon their arrival in arrival in Sabah.

Acting on an informant’s tip, the police raided an apartment in Penampang, a small town adjacent to the capital city of Kota Kinabalu, where the women, aged between 18 and 25, were kept.

“The illegal recruitment and trafficking of Filipino women to Malaysia is fast becoming a thriving enterprise and we call on the Malaysian and Philippine governments to forge a bilateral pact against human trafficking,” the center's president Susan Ople said in a statement.

Ople said that based on the information gathered by the Center, previous victims of human trafficking were promised decent jobs in either Kuala Lumpur or Sabah by their recruiters who turned out to be receiving P3,000 per head from a syndicate in Malaysia.

“With mere P3,000, the recruiter turns a blind eye on whatever fate awaits the recruit bound for Malaysia,” she said.

The former labor undersecretary said local governments must also work together with other NGOs and relevant government agencies in a grassroots public information drive against human trafficking.

“The recruitment is now done door-to-door in both urban and rural areas and the only way to stop this is through active public vigilance leading to higher arrest and conviction rates,” she added.

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