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Philippine Fact-Finding Mission Calls for a Ban on Sending Maids to the Middle East

On November 30, 2009

A three-member delegation of the Philippine House Committee on Workers Affairs visited the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Jordan during October and found egregious violations of migrant rights in all three countries.

The mission was sent following a rise in reports about cases of abuse of Filipino workers in the region. The delegation met with runaway overseas Filipoino workers (OFW) who reported about cases of physical and sexual abuse, withholding of passports, and difficulties to escape the abusive employers. The workers the delegation met were all awaiting deportation while staying in shelters at Philippine consulates and embassies. Currently there are around 500 OFWs awaiting deportation across the region. Many of them were unable to return home because their employer held their passport, and sometimes even pressed fictitious charges against them.

Every domestic worker the delegation met in the five cities they visited urged them to institute a ban on sending domestic workers to the Middle East.

Representative Luzviminda Ilagan told Khaleej Times that the team was overwhelmed by the magnitude of problems faced by the domestic workers, and that "they are treated as modern-day slaves".