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MENAFN - Arab News - 16/01/2014

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(MENAFN - Arab News) The Philippine Embassy and several community workers have still not been able to track down 13 Filipino women who went missing in Saudi Arabia on Dec. 12.

The 13 women are part of a group of 30 brought to Riyadh by a company named AISIS International Manpower Inc. to work as cleaners.

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) had canceled the recruitment license of the company but it still managed to bring the 30 workers to the Kingdom. The 17 other workers are currently in Hail.

Maria Elizabeth Embry, a Filipino activist against human trafficking, who has been in contact with Filipino officials in the Kingdom to find the women, said Wednesday there was no clear information yet on their whereabouts.

In an e-mail to Arab News, Embry alleged that AISIS processed the women's papers in the Philippines, but the workers were deployed by another agency known as MP Manpower Services.

Embry also claimed that AISIS was involved in several illegal recruitment cases including one where a Filipino woman worker, Eugenia Baja, 25, allegedly committed suicide in Saudi Arabia.

Baja had allegedly been recruited to work as a patient server but was later forced to work as a domestic worker and had not been paid for six months.

Many of the workers recruited by AISIS had run away from their sponsors and ended up living in Jeddah under the Kandara Overpass and the tent city outside the Philippine Consulate building.

Embry said that the same agency was also involved in another case in 2011 where 39 distressed workers, who had their contracts substituted in Saudi Arabia, had to pay their sponsor SR1,000 each to get repatriated back home.

Another report on AISIS in 2011, showed that 10 workers ran away from their employer twice after their contracts were substituted, resulting in a situation where many of them were not suitable for the jobs assigned to them. Their salaries were also lower than what they had signed for before leaving the Philippines, according to Assistant Labor Attach Wally Villazor.

He said labor officials convinced the two recruitment agencies in Manila - AISIS and Al-Ahram - to pay for the return flights of the women, the report said.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Bureau of Immigration stopped 16 Filipino women at Ninoy Aquino International Airport on Monday from leaving the country to work in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates as domestic workers and food attendants.

According to a media report, quoting Immigration Commissioner Siegfred Mison, officials stopped the women because there were discrepancies in their employment papers, visas and overseas employment certificates. The women were apparently hired by a man only known as "Rocky" to work in Lebanon.

 






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