MANILA - The Department of Labor and Employment has taken legal steps against a foreign recruitment agency and the employer of a Filipina migrant worker who was raped and abused in Saudi Arabia, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said Tuesday.
Michelle, not her real name, was allegedly raped by the owner of the foreign recruitment agency and molested by one of her employers before she was repatriated, Bello said in a statement.
Bello said he directed the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Riyadh to go after Meshail Mabrook Al Bassani Al Qahtani, owner of the recruitment agency, and employer Abdulaziz Ahlas for the rape and abuse of Michelle.
He added that he has ordered the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) to penalize local firm SAMA International Recruitment Agency, which reportedly ignored Michelle’s ordeal in Saudi Arabia.
“The rape committed against our OFW may not result to a criminal case being filed in Philippine courts against the owner of the FDA. This is due to lack of jurisdiction...I will do everything possible to help our OFW fight back against her tormentors,” Bello said.
The victim had sought the assistance of the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) upon her return to the Philippines and was was given legal assistance in preparation for her sworn statement, DOLE said.
PAO also conducted forensic tests on the OFW which yielded results indicating sexual abuse and injuries, the agency added.
The Philippines and Saudi Arabia last month reaffirmed their commitment to intensify efforts to protect and uphold the rights of OFWs.