THE Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is identifying the recruiters of Filipino workers who have been victims of human trafficking in Syria, Secretary Silvestre Bello III said Thursday.
“(On our part), we are identifying the agency or agencies that facilitated their deployment. We will hold them responsible for what happened to our fellowmen. That’s the only thing we can provide them,” Bello said in a Laging Handa briefing.
He, however, declined to further comment on the issue, noting that it is being handled by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
“Regarding Syria, I don’t want to comment on that. First, we don’t have any office there. It’s the responsibility of (an)other agency. I don’t want to comment about it. But I’m sure the agency in charge or attending to them is taking care of them,” Bello added. “As soon as we (are) able to identify those who recruited them, we will chase them.”
A Washington Post article earlier reported the plight of Filipino trafficking victims in Syria, who, after escaping from their employers, suffered from poor living conditions and alleged ill-treatment in the hands of some staff of the Philippine Embassy in the host country.
They were supposedly recruited to work in the United Arab Emirates but were trafficked to Syria.
On Wednesday, the DFA said Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. has sent a new team “to replace personnel under administrative investigation,” who would also “back up Filipino trafficking victims in Syria following the deployment of a woman human rights lawyer to head the Philippine Embassy in Syria.” Philippine News Agency