Runaway Filipino maid claims she was raped

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Author: RODOLFO ESTIMO JR. | ARAB NEWS

Thursday 13 January 2011

RIYADH: A Filipino runaway staying in a villa some 250 km north of Riyadh has sought the assistance of the Philippine Embassy to get home, according to Vice Consul Roussel R. Reyes, Philippine Embassy officer–in-charge.

“The maid told us that she wanted to be with her two kids in the Philippines because she missed them,” he told Arab News on Wednesday.
He said that as soon as the staff of the embassy's Assistance to Nationals Section locate the villa where the maid and six other runaway maids are staying a team would be dispatched to ensure she is rescued.
The case of the maid, whose name is not being published to protect her privacy, was referred to the embassy after Arab News learned on Tuesday night that she wanted to go home.
Arab News contacted the maid after being notified of her situation by a community leader in Dammam.
The woman came to the Kingdom as a caregiver, but ended up as a maid earning SR800 a month. Twelve days into this job, the sponsor returned her to the placement agency.
“My employer saw that working as maid, my nose was bleeding,” she said.
The agency was able to look for a job for her but worked for only 24 days because she claims her employer raped her.
“That was on Sept. 21, and on the same day I escaped and reported (the incident) to the agency, which did nothing when I complained that I was raped. Eventually the agency got another job for me,” she said.
The six other maids do not want to be taken by the embassy because they are employed and do not want to return home.
“This is a simple case of human trafficking,” said a case officer at the Philippine Embassy. “The six others do not want to go home because they are working. Someone fetches them from their villa in the morning and brings them back in the evening.”
The officer said he suspected the person in charge of the maids has told the six maids who do not want to return home that if the embassy comes to rescue the maid they might also be taken in.
“This is something the six others don't like because they are working to earn,” he said. “They don't want to go home yet. That's also the reason why they asked Leonora (the pseudonym for the maid who wants to be rescued) to leave their accommodation.”
The officer pointed out that there are labor recruiting agencies that are accredited by the Saudi government but not by the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO).
Only POLO-accredited agencies can be directly ordered to assist maids in their care.
“The embassy does not have any control over agencies (not accredited by POLO),” said the officer.

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