Campaign against human trafficking launched
Published on March 16, 2013
On March 17, members and supporters of the Stop the Traffic network will gather at Welcome Rotonda in Quezon City to form a human chain to “symbolize the people’s resolve to end the problem.”
By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
MANILA – Joining Migrante International’s press conference on Thursday, Remedios Miralles, 40, shared her experience as a Filipino victim of human trafficking in Malaysia.
“It would have turned out okay if my employer only made me do household chores, as originally stated in the job description I applied for. But my employers sent me to do other jobs in their businesses such as a sales lady for their curtain store and a worker for their factory all in one day,” Miralles told Bulatlat.com, “Whenever I fail to do everything in time, my employer would scold me.”
Migrante International, in its report, said Miralles was also a victim of physical assault from her employers whenever they were “unhappy with the work she has done.”
“Ms. Miralles was pinched, slapped, punched and kicked while being verbally abused,” Migrante International’s report read.
Miralles left her hometown in Marilao, Bulacan, a province north of Manila, on Dec. 17, 2012. She hoped that by working as a domestic helper in Malaysia, with a promising income of around $350 to $375, she would be able to send her 20-year-old son Norman to college.
But on Jan. 11, 2013, not even a month since she started working there, she left her employer. She returned to her agency’s office, where she was locked up by their employees there. Miralles went back to Manila last Feb. 21, 2013.
“They were forcing me to work for other employers. But I decided that I should go home as soon as I could. Others who were staying there – who also want to go back to the Philippines – told me that my working conditions would be the same even if I move to another employer,” Miralles said.
She added that, “I thought that I was lucky to be able to escape my former employer. I might not be that lucky if I tried it for the second time around. I was determined to go home.”
On Thursday, Miralles expressed her worries that more women would be brought to their agency’s office in Malaysia, only to suffer the same fate as she did. Because of this, she said, she is determined to join the protest action on March 17, Sunday, led by Migrante International to put a stop to the rampant cases of human trafficking in the country.
Under the network of Stop the Traffic, a year-long campaign of Migrante International against human trafficking and illegal network, its conveners and supporters aim to raise awareness and broaden support for OFWs and their families who are victims of trafficking.
It is composed of Filipino migrants and progressive organizations based here and abroad, human rights activists such as Liza Maza, Sr. Mary John Mananzan OSB, Makabayan senatorial bet Teddy Casiño, among others and victims and the families of victims of illegal recruiters such as Melith Ante, Darwin Princesa, and Miralles, herself.
On Mar. 17, members and supporters of the Stop the Traffic network will gather at Welcome Rotonda in Quezon City to form a human chain to “symbolize the people’s resolve to end the problem.”