Scoundrels and scalawags in the recruitment of maids
WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus Jimenez (The Freeman) - January 21, 2020 - 12:00am

While a number of Filipino maids had been murdered, raped, mutilated, unjustly jailed, abused, maltreated, and insulted each day, the rascals in the maid recruitment business are making millions, selling human beings as virtual slaves. I am not imagining things. I worked as a Labor attaché for nine years in Kuwait, Malaysia and Taiwan. My words are based on truth.

There are Philippine-based recruiters today, who earn the immorally outrageous amounts of $5,000 to $7,000 from foreign employers for every maid deployed abroad. Multiply that by, at the very least, 100 maids per month, that would be $700,000 each month or $8,400,000 each year. That means that the smallest recruiter earns no less than P436 million annually and they don't pay taxes because they don’t issue receipts, and the BIR cannot monitor their transactions abroad. The recruitment of maids is like the drug trade and the illegal jueteng game. It cannot be easily stopped because a lot of people, including corrupt public officials, are allegedly making bundles of money.

Exporting human beings to work abroad in some dirty, difficult, dangerous, deceptive, and degrading jobs, like being a house maid in foreign households is nothing less than engaging in modern slavery. It should be stopped immediately and without any ifs or buts. If President Digong can do this, I will mark his presidency as greater than that of Marcos, Quezon, or Magsaysay. I have submitted recommendations in the first month of my foreign assignment. I saw indubitable evidence showing how Filipina maids are insulted, maligned, cheated, sexually molested, and made to work 12 to 18 hours each day, with insufficient rest, inadequate and unhealthy food, and deprived of medical attention when sick or injured.

There’s no doubt that the ban against deployment of maids should be imposed not just on Kuwait but also on Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Oman, UAE, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and South Korea. We don’t want a repeat of the tragedies that befell Sarah Balabagan, Flor Contemplacion, Delia, Maga, Joanna Dimafeliz, and now Jeanelyn Villavende. Government should uphold the dignity of every Filipino woman. We should stop these recruiters wallowing in profits, while the maids are being murdered, raped, insulted, and subjected to all forms of atrocities.

The families left behind become dysfunctional. The husbands go philandering and the children resort to drugs, illicit sex, petty and heinous crimes. Marriages are broken. Some husbands sexually molest their own daughters. The money earned by maids abroad is squandered with recklessness by spouses and children who don’t realize the hardships of the work and life of domestic helpers. But while all these social maladies are being perpetrated, the scoundrels and scalawags in the maid recruitment business are amassing millions out of the blood, sweat, and tears of the Filipino maids. This business is immoral, it wreaks havoc on our national dignity. It destroys families, marriages and homes. It has absolutely no redeeming social value.

I will vote for and support any presidential candidate in 2022, who will vow to abolish this shameless travesty of human dignity. National leaders and public officials who perpetrate or allow this highly-obnoxious slave trade to flourish are either making money or are just plain ignorant or totally uncaring.

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