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5 Pinays stranded in Turkey after being trafficked through Iloilo airport

20 July 2019

By Vir B. Lumicao

Five Filipina domestic workers recruited in Hong Kong have been trafficked to Turkey through the Iloilo International Airport, where they cleared Immigration and were allowed to board an international flight without OECs and work contracts.

Labatt Jolly first raised the alarm in a Facebook post

This was disclosed by outgoing Labor Attaché Jalilo dela Torre in a post on Jul 19 on his Facebook page where he slammed the airport as “becoming a transshipment point for illegally recruited workers for Turkey”.

He alleged two more Filipinas are about to be sent to Turkey by a Hong Kong-based recruitment company, H&L, “owned by a Natalie.”
A Google search showed H&L Recruitment Agency has offices in Mongkok Commercial Centre. But a search of the list of Hong Kong agencies licensed by the Employment Agency Administration yielded no such name.

Labatt dela Torre urged the Philippines’ Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking and the Department of Justice to look into how the five workers passed Immigration without being challenged.

“The IACT and DOJ should investigate this, and put those responsible behind bars. Shame on those officials: they are as guilty as the human traffickers,” said Labatt Dela Torre, a known crusader against human trafficking.
He said that his contact in Russia has confirmed the use of Iloilo Airport as a human trafficking transshipment point.

“My contact in Russia (has) informed me that two more recruits are to be sent to Turkey through Iloilo and Singapore,” he said.

Independent sources told The SUN the five recruits left Iloilo City on May 31 for Singapore, where they took another flight to Doha, Qatar.

From Doha, they took another plane to Istanbul, where they flew onward to separate destinations.

One of the women was reportedly sent to an employer in Ankara where she worked for about three weeks before she was suddenly kicked out of the house for unsatisfactory work. She had to spend the night at a park until she was rescued by a local resident.

The Turkish employer allegedly took her passport and cellphone because the Filipina still owed her recruiter more than US$2,000 for her placement fee, which she had to pay in four monthly installments.

It is not clear how much in total fees was charged each of the victims by their Hong Kong-based recruiter.

The four other victims were not given employers and are now seeking assistance from the Philippine Embassy in Ankara for repatriation because they are penniless and jobless.
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