Filipina trafficking victim wins case vs former employers in Malaysia

(Eagle News)–A Filipina human trafficking victim has won her case against her former Malaysian employers.

A statement from the Department of Foreign Affairs said the Malaysian couple who employed the Filipino identified only as Courage, was  convicted by the Sessions Court in Malaysia for violation of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants (ATIPSOM) Act.

The court reversed an earlier court decision that acquitted the couple, and  sentenced them to ten to 12 years of imprisonment instead for trafficking.

They were also ordered to pay Courage damages in the amount of RM20,000 (equivalent to PHP 232,976.)

“The conviction is a big win for us during this pandemic and is the first victory for a Filipina in Malaysia. This is an example of the government’s commitment in protecting and promoting the rights of our OFWs,”  Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Sarah Lou Y. Arriola said.

The DFA said the Filipina had escaped a rape attempt from her first employer, but ended up being forced by the Malaysian couple to work for their home.

“There she was maltreated and subjected to cruel and abusive acts using a hanger, a flat iron, boiling oil, to name a few,” the DFA said.

Courage escaped and was found by a Filipino couple in an abandoned lot.

She was later brought to the Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur.

After a series of police investigations and a medico-legal examination, she was brought to a shelter for victims of human trafficking.

In the criminal case filed with the Magistrate Court, Courage  testified and recounted her ordeal at the hands of her traffickers, the DFA said.

She was  repatriated in June 2018 but  was able to fly back through the DFA to Malaysia in February 2019 to file a civil case against her employers, the department said.

The DFA also used the Legal Assistance Fund to provide a lawyer for her case and pay for the bond or security cost in the civil action, which remains pending to date.

“The successful conviction of the human traffickers would not have been possible without the watchful eye of the Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, the strong inter-agency cooperation between the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Department of Labor and Employment, the Overseas Workers Welfare Association, and Blas Ople Foundation, an NGO representative of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking, and the brave quest of Courage for justice,” the DFA said.