29 Filipinas rescued from trafficking in Sarawak

22 June 2016 – The Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur said today that upon their coordination with Malaysian police authorities, 29 Filipinas were rescued in two bars in Bintulu, Sarawak on June 9.  

Also arrested during the raid were three Filipinos who served as agents and caretakers of these girls.  

“We thank the Bintulu branch of the Royal Malaysian Police (RMP) for their swift action to provide assistance and rescue of the trafficked Filipinas,” Ambassador J. Eduardo Malaya said. 

The rescue was made possible through the coordination of Embassy Police Attache Pablo Labra II and Assistance to Nationals (ATN) officer Ariel Esparto with Sarawak authorities.  

After receiving reports of trafficked Filipinas in the area, the Embassy officials visited Sarawak and coordinated with the RMP.  The Bintulu RMP thereafter conducted the raid at the Republic and Kiss Kiss Discovery pubs. 

Investigation is now ongoing and the women are to be transferred to the Women’s Shelter Home in Kota Kinabalu after the court’s approval of its application for temporary protection.  

The Embassy reminds Filipinos to be vigilant and not to deal with unlicensed individuals or purported placement agencies, especially online, as they could end up being trafficked. 

They should verify the job offer and the agency offering the said job with the POEA in Manila or the Embassy’s Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) before making travel plans. 

“Proper employment visas from by the Malaysian Embassy in Manila and work permits approved by the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) in Manila are needed by any Filipino entering Malaysia for work,” the Embassy stated. 

“We have received reports of individuals and agencies who are allegedly offering work in Malaysia by first entering as a tourist and then promising to convert them to employment visas in exchange for money, as is the case of some of the women rescued.  Under Malaysian immigration law, social visit passes (tourist visas) cannot be converted to work visas,” it added.  END