Filipina workers flee after being forced to work in China
HONG KONG – Two Filipina domestic workers hired to work in Hong Kong but were instead taken to Shanghai had sought the Philippine consulate's help, after running away from their Chinese employer.
The consulate's assistance to nationals unit is treating the case as human trafficking and has endorsed it to immigration authorities for investigation.
"Hong Kong Immigration is now investigating the case," Danilo Baldon, an officer at the consulate's Assistance to Nationals (ATN) section handling trafficking complaints, told The SUN on July 22.
Baldon said that according to the two Filipinas, the Chinese employer hired them separately through two Hong Kong recruiters with partner agencies in Manila.
The Filipinas knew it was illegal for foreign helpers to work in China so they decided to run away on July 13 when they were taken to Hong Kong to re-apply for a tourist visa.
"The first worker said she arrived in Hong Kong on June 10 and the second on June 11. Both were fetched separately at the airport by staff of the agencies that processed them here," Baldon said.
The employer reportedly took them to the Commissioner's Office of China's Foreign Ministry in Hong Kong where they applied for a tourist visa to the mainland.
Baldon said the employer appeared to be influential in China as she was able to obtain tourist visas for the two workers dated June 12, when they reportedly applied for them only the next day, Jun 13.
According to the two Filipinas, they were taken to Shanghai by car on June 19 and started working for their employer the next day.
The workers said they were surprised by this as their agencies had told them they would be working in Hong Kong.
On Jun 13, the two were told to exit to Hong Kong. They said a private plane flew them from Shanghai to Shenzhen, and from there, they were driven by car to Hong Kong.
Baldon said the agency in Manila and its Hong Kong partner that recruited one of the helpers was surprised upon learning that they were taken by the employer to China.
But the other agency is reportedly being scrutinized for possible connivance with the employer.
He said he had endorsed the case to the Philippine Overseas Labor Office for appropriate action.
Labor Attache Nenita Garcia told The SUN that all she got from ATN was a preliminary report. She said she was still waiting for the final one so the culpability of the employment agency could be evaluated, and if necessary, for a case to be endorsed to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration for further action.
Garcia said she would bring up the case in the next meeting of the Technical Working Group, comprised of key officials of the consulate and the Hong Kong government. The group meets any time one of the parties calls for a discussion of pressing issues involving Filipino workers in Hong Kong. – Rappler.com
This story was republished with permission from The SUN-HK, a content partner of Rappler.