OFW rescued in Baghdad

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Two overseas Filipino workers (OFW) were rescued by Philippine Embassy representatives in Baghdad after being victimized by a human trafficking syndicate operating in Dubai.

Following the successful rescue, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) issued a statement on Thursday warning Filipino job seekers against a Dubai-based human trafficking syndicate tagged as responsible for the illegal deployment of Filipinos in Iraq.

A total ban on OFW deployment anywhere in Iraq the Philippine government had imposed earlier remains in effect.

“This warning is being reissued after the Philippine Embassy in Baghdad rescued two more Filipinas from the southern province of Basra with the help of a local anti-human trafficking group,” the DFA statement said.

“The embassy said trafficking syndicates have been luring victims by offering to advance the cost of their travel to Dubai where high-paying jobs are supposed to be waiting for them,” it added.

Appropriate assistance was provided to the two rescued Filipinas, according to the DFA.

Based on initial investigation, the DFA said the syndicate sends their victims to Dubai using tourist visas.

Upon arrival, they are made to work without pay supposedly as part of their “training.”

“Once their visas are about to expire, the victims are told to accept jobs in Iraq or pay the syndicates the $3,000 supposedly spent for their deployment,” the DFA said.

The victims are trafficked through Erbil in the Kurdistan region of Iraq and then smuggled to Baghdad or Basra.

“The embassy reminds Filipinos that a deployment ban remains in effect over Iraq,” the DFA said. It added that Filipinos who enter Iraq without visas face imprisonment and hefty penalties if caught.

For their safety, Filipinos who want to work abroad should first check the veracity of the supposed job offers with the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, according to the DFA.

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