LA UNION - Two women have accused a village councilor in La Union province and a recruitment agency of trafficking them to the United Arab Emirates and forcing them into prostitution.
According to the victims, they were recruited last Sept. 20 by a village councilor of Santa Monica in the town of Bauang and a Manila-based recruitment agency to work as massage therapists.
They were not charged anything for the job and were allegedly promised a salary of P21,000 per month.
Upon arriving in Dubai last Oct. 18 using a tourist visa, things reportedly took the turn for the worse.
Their travel documents and gadgets were allegedly confiscated by traffickers and they were ushered into a cab and brought to a brothel in Al Ain, UAE.
It was only then that they realized it was not the greener pastures they were looking for. They found themselves into a world of prostitution.
Anna said they were forced to sit in a room and wait for customers.
"Kung nagustuhan ka talaga, sasama ka. Kapag tumanggi ka, ikukulong ka sa kwarto. Hindi ka papakainin (If a customer likes you, you have to go with him. If you refused, they will lock you up in a room. They will not feed you)," Rose told ABS-CBN News. Their real names are withheld to protect their identities.
Anna was rescued a week after she was able to get in touch with her husband, who alerted the Philippine Embassy, Department of Foreign Affairs, and the police.
Meanwhile, Rose was rescued three weeks later through a smuggled cellphone.
Charges of human trafficking will be filed against the village councilor and recruitment agency.
Sought for comment, the village councilor who happened to be the victims' neighbor denied the allegation hurled against her.
"Kung binenta na, hindi na makauwi. Noong 1980's maraming pumupunta dito, maganda na ang buhay nila (If you were trafficked, you couldn't go back home. In the 1980's, many people asked for my help and their lives have turned out well)," she said. Her name is withheld until she is formally indicted. - report from Marc Teomar Bautista, ABS-CBN News