Philippines cautions Filipinos on illegal Palau recruitment

May. 22, 2007

MANILA — The Department of Foreign Affairs cautions the public, particularly women who seek employment in the Republic of Palau as waitresses, against illegal recruiters who deploy Filipino workers for abusive employers.

In a report to the Department of Foreign Affairs, Philippine Ambassador to Palau Ramocito A. Mario said that on 8 May 2007, two Filipino women and two persons from Taiwan were sentenced by the Court of Palau for people trafficking (human trafficking) involving seven Filipino and three Chinese women. The Filipino traffickers were sentenced to one to three years imprisonment and a total of US$7,000 in fines while the Taiwanese traffickers were each sentenced to twenty years in prison and US$50,000 in fines in addition to financial restitution to the victims amounting to more than US$18,000.

The two Filipino traffickers were implicated in the case by the testimony of seven Filipino waitresses formerly employed at a restaurant in Palau. The former waitresses alleged that they were forced into prostitution. The court later established that one of the Filipino traffickers, the recruiter, was aware all along that the women were going to be forced into prostitution.

In a related development, Ambassador Mario stated that five of the seven Filipino victims have found gainful employment in various establishments in Palau while the other two are currently looking for work. They have already been granted an extension on their authorized stay in Palau. The Embassy had been providing assistance to the seven women since they ran away from their abusive employer in July 2006.

Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs Esteban B. Conejos, Jr. reminded Filipinos going abroad to exercise utmost care and caution in dealing with recruiters, and to verify the legitimacy of their recruiter and job opportunities with the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA). END

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