UNITED OFW FORCES WORLDWIDE (U-OFW) said it is assisting a Filipina household service worker in Saudi Arabia who claimed that she was held at gunpoint by her employer.
“This is the very first time I received a request for help from a distressed OFW claiming that she had been held at gunpoint by her employer,” said John Leonard Monterona, convenor of the newly formed OFW rights and welfare group.
Monterona said the distressed OFW was referred to him by Philippine-based United Methodist Church Pastor Marie Sol Villalon who is also active in assisting victims of human trafficking.
He said the identity of the OFW will be kept for security reason.
“Yesterday, the said OFW sent a private message on my Facebook. Normally at the beginning, I asked questions about the OFW’s problem. If I am convinced that indeed the OFW has a rightful claim or case against the employer, I’ll get her personal details, some important provisions of her employment contract and additional deployment-related information,” Monterona said.
According to Monterona, he immediately sent a case referral to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) and to the OFW’s agency which is the Manila-based Horas Human Resources and Recruitment Agency to arrange for the removal of the woman from her employer’s house considering the serious threat.
“We are urging the POEA and the Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLO) in the Middle East to properly initiate a background check of the prospective employers’ record on dealing with their hired domestic workers. If the government can’t stop the peddling of Filipina domestic workers in the Middle East, then at least they must ensure that our workers will be at the hands of caring foreign employers,” Monterona said.
The OFW group maintained that the deplorable plight of Filipino domestic workers must be raised as an electoral agenda among the candidates in this year’s Philippine elections.