Fears of human trafficking emerged as the whereabouts of 13 female Filipino workers deployed in Saudi Arabia by an agency whose license has been cancelled by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) cannot be determined at the moment.
The Philippine Embassy and concerned Filipino communities are still unable to track down the Filipinas who went missing in the Kingdom on Dec. 12.
The missing women are part of a group deployed by AISIS International Manpower Inc. to work as cleaners. POEA has cancelled the license of the firm to deploy overseas Filipino workers for undetermined reasons, yet the company managed to send 30 workers to Riyadh. Seventeen of the deployed workers are currently in Hail.
Maria Elizabeth Embry, an advocate against human trafficking and in contact with Filipino officials looking for the missing Filipinas claimed that AISIS was involved in multiple illegal recruitment cases including a Filipino worker, Eugenia Baja, 25, committed suicide in Saudi Arabia. Baja had been allegedly hired to work as patient server but ended up as domestic worker and hasn’t received wages for six months.
Embry added that AISIS processed the documentation of the missing workers in the Philippines, but they were deployed by another agency identified as MP Manpower Services. Other violation of the agency include a case in 2011 when 10 workers ran away from their employer after their contracts were switched, which resulted in unfavorable situation.