Dubai: A Filipina reportedly jumped from the third floor of a building in Dubai two weeks ago to escape her recruiters who locked her in an apartment for one week with no food. The extent of her injuries was not immediately clear.
The Filipina, whose identity was withheld for her protection, told Philippine news site GMA 7 that she arrived in Dubai in December to work as a maid. But her recruiters failed to keep their promise of giving her employment.
“Ma, please help me so I can go home immediately,” the Filipina pleaded. “I want to see my children,” she said in tears.
The Filipina said when she arrived last month, she was picked up from the airport and dropped at an apartment managed by the recruitment agency.
“I was there for one week. They did not give us food. They locked us in,” she said.
“I jumped from the third floor, without giving thought to whether I would live or die if I did. I only wanted to escape from that place.”
“Please give me back my passport. That’s all I ask,” she said, referring to her recruiters.
A fellow Filipina reportedly saw her and took her to the Philippine Overseas Labour Office in Dubai.
The Filipina’s case is currently being handled by the Assistance-To-Nationals (ATN) section of the Philippine Consulate-General. The Filipina is considered an undocumented worker since she arrived in the UAE on a tourist visa to look for work.
“The Philippine Consulate-General (ATN Section) is working on the repatriation of Ms J.I. In this regard, appropriate representations are being undertaken by the Consulate to the immigration authorities in the UAE,” Consul-General Paul Raymund Cortes told Gulf News.
“Ms J.I. is also in good physical and mental state and the consulate will continue monitoring her documentation process relative to her eventual return to the Philippines,” he added.
Cortes reminded Filipinos who wish to work abroad, especially as domestic helpers, to go through proper channels established by the Philippine government to ensure that their rights and welfare are protected.
More than 90 per cent of the cases of distressed Filipinos handled by the ATN every year are reported as ‘tourist workers’.
The Philippine government defines ‘tourist workers’ as those who leave the country with tourist visas but with the objective of finding jobs abroad.
In 2014, conflicting recruitment policies between the UAE and Philippines government led to the suspension of verification of contracts by Philippine missions in the UAE.
According to Philippine regulations, no verification essentially means no deployment of workers.
But many Filipinos still fall prey to illegal recruiters, who promise better pay and good job prospects abroad.
Labour Attaché Felicitas Bay warned Filipinos against resorting to such individuals.
“Seek the guidance of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) if you wish to work overseas. Beware of individuals and entities without licence or authority to recruit,” Bay told Gulf News.