THE Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) yesterday warned jobseekers to be wary of persons, manpower agencies or recruitment agencies engaged in human trafficking via social media such as Facebook, Viber or WhatsApp, and offering jobs in Dubai or in any other place.
This is in light of human trafficking cases being monitored by the Department, particularly by the Philippine Embassy in Baghdad.
A trafficking victim detained at Basra Prison in Iraq for the last three months was finally released for deportation on April 3, and two more Filipinos were secured by the Embassy.
Ten other individuals who were also victims of the same scheme have been in the custody of the Embassy since January.
The victims were trafficked from Dubai to Iraq from July 4 to December 22, 2018, according to their official statements.
Last year, the Embassy handled a total number of 17 human trafficking cases.
The Embassy said trafficking syndicates have been luring victims through social media by offering to advance the cost of their travel to Dubai where high-paying jobs are supposed to be waiting for them.
The victims enter Dubai using tourist visas and are then made to work without pay, supposedly as part of their “training.”
Once their visas are about to expire, the victims are told to accept jobs in Iraq or pay the syndicates the US$3,000 they purportedly spent for their deployment.
The victims are trafficked through Erbil in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq and then smuggled to Baghdad or Basra.
Since their visas from Erbil will not be valid outside of the Kurdistan Region, the victims are transferred from one car to another at least five times in one trip to avoid inspection at several security checkpoints.
The victims may be molested and maltreated enroute to Baghdad and Basra. The unfortunate ones may suffer more maltreatment even when they have already been employed.
The Embassy reminds Filipinos that a deployment ban remains in effect over Iraq.
It also warns Filipinos who enter Iraq without visas that they face imprisonment and hefty penalties if caught.
The Embassy further advises Filipinos who want to work abroad to first check the job offers with the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).
The public is likewise advised to comply with pre-departure procedures implemented by Philippine immigration authorities.