Maltreated OFWs back home after cries for help spread online

Roxanne Arevalo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 11 2017 08:54 PM

ILIGAN CITY - Three overseas Filipino workers (OFW) in the Middle East have returned home after they were rescued from abusive employers.

"Jen," among those repatriated, worked as a household helper in Saudi Arabia. At first, she only served one family but was later forced to also work for her employer's sibling.

Jen endured extended work hours, but things got worse when her employer's brother started harassing her.

"I felt violated when he hugged me, touched me and kissed me even when he assured me those were just fatherly gestures," she said.

Jen complained to her agency but they did nothing to help her.

"Martha," who also worked as a household helper in Saudi Arabia, also experienced maltreatment from her employer.

She said she was deprived of her own clothing, food and communication with her family in the Philippines. Her employer also beat her, she said.

"I ate leftovers and expired food to survive. When I found the opportunity to leave the house, I went to a Filipina neighbor. She slipped a paper and pen for me write how to reach my family," she narrated.

According to Martha, she still has nightmares about her horrific experience even when she has already returned home.

A week ago, another OFW from Iligan City was rescued after a fellow Filipina discreetly took photos of her bruises and posted them on Facebook.

Families of the rescued OFWs only learned of their plight through social media.

While the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) and the Presidential Adviser on OFW Affairs facilitated their return, the women hope the government would find better ways to protect workers abroad and would generate more job opportunities in the country.

All three swore that they would never work abroad again.