OSLO - A 40-year-old Norwegian man from Rogaland had been charged by the police for repeatedly raping a Filipina au pair and for attempting to rape another Filipina au pair, according to a report by local paper, Stavanger Aftenbladet.
The man, who works for the health sector, reportedly raped the au pair at his home where the latter works. He is also now facing human trafficking case for bringing the two Filipinas to Norway.
The same report also quoted the man’s counsel Brynjar Meling as saying that his client is not pleading guilty to the charges, and is puzzled by the charges filed against him. But the man said he will cooperate fully with the police investigation.
The man was arrested in February after his au pair, who is in her 20s, reported the rape to the police. The rape reportedly started since autumn of last year.
Last week, the police added charges of rape against the man who was supposed to have also raped another Filipina au pair in 2006 and 2007. The two victims do not know each other.
The court has also decided that there is probable cause to hold the man in custody while the police investigation is ongoing.
A month ago, a 52-year-old chiropractor from Oslo was sentenced to 18 months in jail for sexually abusing several Filipina au pairs who worked for him.
The chiropractor and his partner reportedly brought nine poor young women to Norway to work as domestic helpers at their house. Most of these women were forced to have sex with their employers including the man’s female partner who is bisexual.
The man’s bisexual partner was also sentenced to six months in jail.
Because of these cases of abuse of au pairs, Norwegian politicians are questioning if the au pair arrangement needs to be reviewed.
Parliament member Jette Christensen from the Labor Party in Hordaland called for the banning of the arrangement, since this leads to the exploitation of women as cheap labor.
“It is unacceptable that Filipinas with children are brought to the country as domestic helpers. They work long and hard, more than they should, are paid 4000 kroners a month that they sent to their families in their home country. If we cannot do something about this situation, it is better that we get rid of this arrangement,” Christensen was quoted in the report.
According to the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI), the number of au pairs hired by Norwegian families has tripled in the last ten years from 461 in 2000 to 1509 in 2010.
Of these, 80% of au pairs granted permit by the UDI were from the Philippines.
Recently, Philippine Vice President Jejomar announced the lifting of the ban on au pairs in all European countries, saying this will provide education and employment opportunities for Filipinos in Europe.
Some 1,500 to 2,000 Filipinos are expected to be deployed as au pairs to Europe following the lifting of the ban.
The partial ban on deployment of au pairs to Europe was lifted in Switzerland, Norway and Denmark in 2010.
The ban was ordered in 1997 following reports of maltreatment and excessive working hours.
The lifting of the ban was made after the Department of Foreign Affairs was able to craft improved safety nets and protection policies for Filipinos who will work as au pairs.