Filipino women targeted by sex traffickers via social media
Updated 18:12, 25-Sep-2018
The Philippines warned on Saturday about the threat posed by sex traffickers preying on Filipino women via social media by offering jobs in Malaysia, Singapore and other countries.
The Department of Foreign Affairs issued the warning after the Philippine embassy in Kuala Lumpur repatriated 27 Filipino women on Wednesday. They were earlier rescued from a sex trafficking syndicate operating in Johor Bahru, the capital of Johor in Malaysia.
"We urge our countrymen to think twice before applying for overseas job opportunities offered online," said Philippines foreign affairs secretary Alan Peter Cayetano.
Cayetano said there are numerous cases of Filipino job seekers who apply for online job offers but end up in virtual bondage in a number of countries abroad.
Filipinos who want to work abroad should first check job offers with the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency or the Department of Labor and Employment before applying for them, said Cayetano. 
In interviews conducted by the embassy representatives and the Philippine National Police Women and Children Protection Center, the victims said they were trafficked to Malaysia and Singapore in four batches between June and July.
According to the women, they were recruited in the Philippines, selling liquor to customers in four establishments in Singapore. They did this on a commission basis but were made to provide sexual services as well.
"They were mostly recruited via social media for work in Singapore, but were told they would enter and exit the country from Malaysia," said Philippine ambassador to Malaysia Charles Jose.
Jose reminded that Filipinos wishing to work in Malaysia should be wary of job offers from recruiters who will have them enter the country as tourists but with the promise of securing work visas upon arrival.
Due to lack of employment in the Philippines, up to 12 million Filipinos work abroad to seek for greener pastures.
The Philippines is one of the world's largest labor exporters. The economy is heavily reliant on the remittances the overseas Filipino workers send home.
(Cover: Filipino workers returning home from Kuwait arrive at Manila International Airport, February 18, 2018. /VCG Photo)
Source(s): Xinhua News Agency