Dubai: Manila’s Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has warned Filipinos against taking bogus job offers to Dubai, Turkey, and European cities which traffickers use to lure victims to work as maids in Iraq.

The DFA in an advisory warned that the trafficking network is operating in Pampanga, Pasay City and using Dubai as a springboard to Iraq. The warning was issued after eight more trafficking victims were secured by the Philippine Embassy in Baghdad last month, and flown back to the Philippines.

Based on official statements gathered by the DFA from trafficking victims from July 2018 to March 2019, illegal recruiters usually offer jobs in Dubai, Turkey or European cities, promising applicants that their visas to these cities will be available during their transit in Iraq.

Earlier this year, a trafficking victim detained at Basra Prison was finally released for deportation, but only after three months of detention for visa violations. She came to Iraq using a Kurdistan visit visa which was not valid for her stay in Basra from July 2018.

Filipinos who are residing, working, or vacationing in Iraq are advised to take note that their Kurdistan visas will not be valid in Baghdad, Basra or other provinces in Iraq outside of the Kurdistan provinces of Erbil, Duhok and Sulaymaniyah.

Those who violate visa regulations are meted with imprisonment and hefty penalties.

The Philippine government currently has a deployment ban for Filipinos who are considered ‘new hires’ to Iraq. Officials advised Filipinos who want to work abroad to first check job offers with the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration to know if they are legitimate offers.

Below are the early warning signs of fraud/trafficking:

  • Applicants are not provided copies of their visas to the intended destination
  • Vague information regarding the nature and conditions of the work offered by the recruitment agency
  • Applicants are not in control of their own identification documents such as IDs or passport, and are advised to claim to authorities that he or she is just a tourist visiting a particular city
  • The agency recruiting them has no permanent address, and their agents do not reveal their full names and contact details, applicants are advised to choose particular immigration lanes during departure from the Philippines
  • Victims are told that there is no Philippine Embassy in Iraq and applicants must coordinate with particular individuals in case of emergencies.