Press Release
July 26, 2018

Villar gives livelihood assistance to Filipinas rescued from a prostitution den in Malaysia

Sen. Cynthia Villar today welcomed three overseas Filipino workers who were rescued from an alleged prostitution den in Malaysia.

The three women, namely Mary Rose, Julie Ann and Ailene were repatriated from Malaysia aboard Air Asia Flight YM 5428 and landed at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport at 2 pm. They were met by their families.

"We have seen this modus before-- recruiters using the promise of work and good salary as bait so they could attract our kababayan, usually in the provinces. Malalaman na lang ng kababayan natin na walang trabaho kapag nandoon na sa ibang bansa, kung saan sila pinapagawa ng iligal na bagay, minamaltrato at inaabuso," Villar said.

"Despite the existence of Republic Act 9283 or the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act, which was signed into law 15 years ago, illegal recruiters continue to operate and many of our people continue to fall victims of human trafficking," she added.

Villar also asked authorities to go after the recruiter and her cohorts and see to it that they face the harshest penalties under the law.

The case of the 4 OFWs was referred to Villar and the Villar Social Institute for Poverty Alleviation and Governance (Villar SIPAG) by radio station DZRH. Villar provided the OFWs financial assistance as well as sari-sari store start up kit when they met her at the Senate.

It was learned that around middle of 2017, the women who are all residents of Bataan, were recruited by a certain Rea Cervantes to work as performers in Malaysia with a salary of P40,000 per month.

The four departed Manila on September 15, 2017 for Zamboanga City. Upon arrival at the Zamboanga airport, they were assisted by four men and travelled via boat to Basilan and then to Tawi-Tawi. From Tawi-Tawi, they travelled to Malaysia through a speed boat.

When the 3 OFWs arrived in Malaysia, they were brought to their employer who in turn assigned them as waitresses at the Labuan Kings Musical and KTV Bar in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. Apart from the task of serving food and drinks to the customers, these 3 OFWs were required by their employer to entertain and give sexual favors to the customers of the KTV Bar. The 3 OFWs were forced to follow their employer's instructions as they fear for their lives.

These 3 OFWs did not receive salaries from their employer. They were not allowed to go out, got beaten by their employer, and were starved.

Their phones were also confiscated, but luckily one of the OFWs had a spare phone which she used in seeking help. One of the parents of the OFWs sought the help of a DZRH reporter, who went to the National Bureau of Investigation to ask for help and investigate the case of their daughters.

On October 31, 2017, the 3 OFWs were rescued and were taken to a shelter where they stayed until their repatriation this month.

"We thank the authorities for acting swiftly on the immediate rescue of Mary Rose, Julie Anne, and Ailene. It might have been worst for these women if they were not rescued immediately," Villar said.

Villar also invited the four OFWs to avail of free trainings offered by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, farm schools and other learning sites, to get started on other livelihood opportunities.

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