MANILA, Philippines — Five human trafficking victims were successfully repatriated from Syria on Thursday, the eve of the 2021 World Day Against Trafficking.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said the five were illegally hired to work in Syria after posing as tourists in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
“The report we received indicated that they sought refuge at the Philippine Embassy in Damascus because of the abuses they received from their employers not to mention the poor working conditions,” Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Sarah Lou Arriola said in a statement.
“We are holding into account those who perpetrated the crime of trafficking-in-persons against our kababayans. We also guarantee that the survivors will be given due assistance in the filing and prosecution of criminal complaints,” she added.
The five were welcomed by DFA officers upon their arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3.
The agency, meanwhile, vowed to extend reintegration assistance to the repatriated trafficking victims.
“The DFA is one with the government in listening to the voices of our TIP (trafficking-in-persons) survivors. We are here to learn from our Kababayan survivors and we recognize them as key actors in the whole-of-government fight against human trafficking,” Arriola said.
TIP is a crime punishable under the Anti-Human Trafficking in Persons Act or Republic Act 9208 as amended by RA 10364, while illegal recruitment is prohibited under Republic Act 8042 as amended by RA 10022.