Around 130 men and women from Manila, Ilocos, Abra and Bicol stood in front of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) last Friday, March 27, 2015 with the hope of working abroad. They were recruited through Facebook and promised work as dairy farm assistants, farm workers, nurses and healthcare workers in countries such as New Zealand, Australia, Canada and South Korea. The alleged illegal recruiter instructed the unknowing victims to pay a processing fee between P 130,000.00 - P215,000.00 through bank and personal transactions for the supposed paperwork necessary for overseas employment.
Afterwards, they were told to proceed to CFO Manila and attend the Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar (PDOS). The Commission is a government agency under the Office the President mandated to conduct PDOS to Filipinos holding immigrant/residence visas or those who will be settling permanently overseas.
Upon arrival of the numerous victims, CFO officers interviewed them and offered clarification on the government’s process of deploying overseas Filipino workers (OFW), as well as assisted them in filing their complaints against their alleged perpetrator.
According to several accounts from the victims, they were told to go to the CFO and meet their fixer/illegal recruiter who would assist them in their attendance to the PDOS and processing of their working visas and other travel documents. Most of the victims were surprised that they have unsuspectingly been involved in illegal recruitment operations. Some of them shared that they have already received three days training in a canning factory based in Cavite as part of their “deployment” requirement. Upon inspection of their official receipts for their payments made, it was discovered that said receipts were not BIR registered.
With the increasing number of Filipinos hoping to work abroad, the CFO encourages the public to verify the license and job orders of recruitment agencies with the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) before filing applications or paying any fees.
The CFO also urges the public to be vigilant and active in the fight against human trafficking operations. To engage the public in this fight and make the government’s services more accessible, the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) launched the 1343 Actionline against Human Trafficking in March 2011. The Action line can be reached from any point in Metro Manila by dialing 1343 and is likewise accessible from the provinces using the Manila area code 02. Report can also be filed online through http://1343actionline.ph/.
The 1343 Actionline responds to inquiries, requests for assistance and reports of human trafficking and other related acts such as illegal recruitment, mail-order bride scheme, child trafficking, among others.
Laban kontra Human Trafficking, Laban nating Lahat! is the core message of an active campaign that IACAT carries out with various stakeholders from government and non-government organizations, women’s groups and law enforcement agencies.
The 1343 Actionline Against Human Trafficking is being managed by the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) as head of the Advocacy and Communications Committee (ADVOCOM) of the IACAT.
Submitted by: Commission on Filipinos Overseas ( www.cfo.gov.ph )