Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Bogus job offers abroad


Time and again, it is frustrating to hear that some unscrupulous people were reaping huge profits at the expense of innocent women, whose only intention was to land a job for them to improve their lives and that of their families. Instead, they ended up as prostitutes in some brothels in some parts of Asia, which is against their will.

How do these unscrupulous people perpetrate their modus operandi? First, they pick a newspaper where they would advertise their phony vacancies abroad. When the applicants start coming in, they would screen each and then required to submit some more papers for the processing of their visas. After the selection process, each successful applicant is asked to cough up money as placement fees, and those who do not have cash are forced to pawn their properties or make some loans from friends and relatives just to come up with the agency's placement fees.

The Philippines, along with the rest of Asian countries, has not been spared of this problem. Most often, people will hear sad ordeals of women who ended up as prostitutes in some brothels in China or somewhere else. Of all places, why China? Despite its robust economy, China is struggling to deal with its millions of unemployed or underemployed citizens, who like the rest, have been aching to move out somewhere just to seek greener pastures. Unless, you're recruited by multinationals to work in that part of the world, the situation would be a bit different.

However, working as domestic helpers in the heart of China, with the exception of Hong Kong, Macau or Singapore, seemed unwelcomed considering the language barrier. Or working in the Middle East, whose harsh climate and cultural differences are making it doubly difficult for some workers to deal with. Hence, some ended up as runaways whose only alternative is to seek refuge at the concerned embassies. Good, if embassy officials are not remiss in their duties so that necessary assistance could be immediately be extended to the victims.

For these tourists, getting out of the country is not really a problem. This is where the problem starts. At the NAIA international airport in Manila, for instance, miracles do happen almost daily within the noses of immigration officials. Surprisingly, escort services are available, in connivance with unscrupulous or fly-by-night agencies, who do nothing but grease the palms of those who have immediate access inside the airport terminals up to the exit tubes. And it is hard to imagine how much money change hands to sustain human trafficking in that part of Asia.

The problem begins to crop up once the victims have already sought refuge at the respective embassies to seek immediate assistance. The most common reason is that they were abused or not given salaries for months so that the last recourse is to runaway from their employers to escape further wrath.

Sometimes, it is not advisable to capitalize on poverty as the primordial reason why there is an urgent need for some women to try their luck abroad. First thing that you'll do is to seek the help of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) and check if the said agency is registered or not. However, some do not bother to ask because they knew first hand that they would be questioned if their job offers are genuine or not. Hence, some women are taking the risks of sneaking through the backdoor, unmindful of what will happen to them next. But sometimes, the gamble doesn't look good.

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