DFA warns public vs trafficking schemes involving use of social media

(Eagle News)–The Department of Foreign Affairs has reiterated its warning to the public against human trafficking schemes that involve the use of social media.

The DFA issued the reminder following  human trafficking cases  in Baghdad, Iraq.

According to the DFA, ten human trafficking victims are under custody of the embassy since January 19.

They were apart from the  trafficking victim detained at Basra Prison in Iraq for the last three months who was released for deportation on April 3, and the other two Filipinos secured by the embassy.

The DFA said the victims were initially trafficked from Dubai to Iraq from July 4 to  December 22 last year, according to their official statements.

Last year, the embassy handled 17 human trafficking cases, the DFA said.

According to the DFA, the scheme involves luring victims through social media by “offering to advance the cost of their travel to Dubai where high-paying jobs are supposed to be waiting for them.”

The victims then enter Dubai using tourist visas and 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 US$3,000.00 they purportedly spent for their deployment. The victims are trafficked through Erbil in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq and then smuggled to Baghdad or Basra,” the DFA said.

According to the DFA, since the victims’ visas from Erbil will not be valid outside of the Kurdistan Region, the “victims are transferred from one car to another at least five times in one trip to avoid inspection at several security checkpoints.”

In the process, the “victims may be molested and maltreated” while the “unfortunate ones may suffer more maltreatment even when they have already been employed,” the DFA said.

According to the department,  a deployment ban remains in effect over Iraq.

It added Filipinos who want to work abroad should first check the job offers with the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration.