100 OFWs return from war-torn Syria, Jordan

From a report by Jasmin Romero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 10 2012 08:16 PM | Updated as of Nov 11 2012 04:16 AM

MANILA, Philippines – More than 100 overseas Filipino workers (OFW) have returned to the Philippines from Jordan and Syria.

Authorities said 95% of them were victims of illegal recruiters.

One of the returnees, Ellen, is left wondering what future lies ahead of her when she arrived Friday in Manila after working in Jordan for a few years.

She said her employer abused her and she is left scarred after that traumatic experience.

“Tinakot niya ako tapos pinaghubad na niya ako. Habang umiiyak ako sige lang siya sa paggalaw sa akin. Pagkatapos niya ako galawin pinatulog niya lang ako,” she said.

Susan, meanwhile, told ABS-CBN News how shocked she was when she became a domestic worker in Jordan.

She's a college graduate and her recruiter led her to believe that she will work in an office in Dubai.

Another OFW, Rowena, admits she is still shaken after her experience in the war-torn Syria.

“Minsan iniwanan ako ng amo ko ng 3 months,” she said.

They are just a few of the 115 OFWs who returned home, 49 are from Syria while 66 are from Jordan.

The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) said only 6 of them are documented.

The Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) said there are already 81 convictions of trafficking in persons offenses involving 100 people.

But almost 2,000 cases are still pending in courts.

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Trafficking Joy Ngozi Ezeilo visited the OFWs as part of her fact- finding mission in the Philippines.

“Mabusisi rin ‘yung pagi-investigate para malaman kung sino ang nag-recruit sa kanila. That information will be used by the IACAT to arrest the traffickers,” said Atty. Ira Pozon from the Office of the Vice President.

The OFWs will be brought to the halfway home of OWWA and Department of Social Welfare and Development. They will also undergo stress debriefing and counseling. -- ANC