THE OPLE CENTER AND PARTNERS
‘Saving a traffic victim not enough, She should be given a productive, new life’
One of the major components for the recovery of victim-survivors of severe exploitation and violence abroad is social and economic reintegration, which includes programs for psychosocial support and counseling, as well as life skills, livelihood training and employment in sustainable jobs.
The Blas F. Ople Policy Center and Training Institute (Ople Center) and the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery (GFEMS) have innovated a comprehensive assistance package under its Anti-Slavery Project for Overseas Filipino Domestic Workers called the Reintegration Assistance for Trafficked OFWs (RAFT).
2 women, 2 tales of exploitation, hope
TWO women who survived sexual slavery in Bahrain shared their stories of redemption and justice that happened in a time of COVID-19 pandemic.
Faith was 28-year-old at the time she left Baguio City to the United Arab Emirates in 2018 to work as a beautician. Hope was 36 years old when she departed from her hometown in Laguna for the in 2017 for the United Arab Emirates.
They were both working at a salon in Dubai when they were approached by a Filipina recruiter named Maricel Quiambao in October 2018. They were offered a “better-paying” job in Bahrain. They agreed, and in December 2018, they flew out of the U.A.E. using a tourist visa.
All set for Europe, she landed in Kurdistan
GRACIA was 42 years old when she was promised a job in Europe as a household worker with a salary of US$400, equivalent to PhP 18,000, which was twice the amount of anyone with a similar job in the Philippines. She left her hometown in Bulacan on March 29, 2018.
To her surprise, she ended up in Kurdistan, Iraq. It was the beginning of what seemed like a life in hell.
US lauds PH trafficking response; Database vs exploitation up
The Philippines had set a new record in being the first ASEAN country to have maintained a Tier 1 category ranking in the U.S. Department of State’s Trafficking-in-Persons Report 2020 for five years straight, an elite ranking in terms of trafficking response.
The country joined 34 other countries deemed as making significant progress in the eradication of modern-day slavery.
In its report, the U.S. Department of State made further recommendations to the country, including “a central database for information on illegal recruiters and human trafficking cases to facilitate interagency coordination in detecting, investigating, and prosecuting traffickers”.
Govt, Ople Center, Gfems Assist thousands of OFWs
There was a massive prevalence of exploitation of overseas Filipino workers that were not addressed, particularly of domestic or household service workers to the Middle Eastern region.
According to the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Overseas Worker Welfare Administration, a total of 4,879 cases of severely exploited household service workers were recorded from 2017 to 2018, mainly consisting cases of abuse, violence, debt bondage, and forced labor.
The Blas F. Ople Policy Center and Training Institute, or the Ople Center, has sought to reduce these cases of exploitation by partnering with an international non-government organization called the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery or GFEMS in a campaign called “Anti-Slavery Project for Overseas Filipino Domestic Workers”, formally launched on September 17, 2018.