POEA warns Filipino workers vs illegal recruitment and becoming drug couriers

April 29, 2015 4:07 am 

By Ferdinand G. Patinio

MANILA, April 28 (PNA) — The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) is warning Filipino workers against accepting offers of employment abroad without proper work documents as they may end up becoming drug couriers.

POEA Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac noted that illegal recruiters and human traffickers are working with drug traffickers who would require their victims to carry or use packages or pieces of luggage not their own.

Recruits are using "the easy way out" via the "no tourist visa" arrangement with ASEAN member states such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei, and Thailand.

"Remember that even if Southeast Asian destinations such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia, Brunei, and Thailand do not require visas for tourists, work visas or permits are still required in order to work in these countries or destinations," Cacdac said in a statement.

The POEA chief explained that workers deployed through this scheme, if they are successful in not being detected carrying illegal drugs, would usually end up either stranded without work in a foreign country, or forced to accept low-paying household jobs or as farm hands in remote plantations or establishments used as fronts for prostitution.

He said that human and drug traffickers can also make their recruits become seasoned drug mules by directing them to repeatedly carry drugs for a considerable amount of money.

"The amount of money is used as bait for victims to commit the internationally-recognized crime of drug trafficking," Cacdac added.

With this, he reminded would-be overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to only deal with licensed recruiters and make sure that all the documents they are signing are legal papers.

"Make sure that you are dealing with a licensed recruiter, and that you have a contract with a definite employer and a work visa or permit before leaving the Philippines," Cacdac said.

He added, "Hence, I would advise aspiring OFWs to be doubtful when recruiters offer tourist visas instead of working visas if planning to work abroad and never accept packages of unknown nature. Please be very, very careful and always check whether the recruiter, foreign employer, and the job order are in POEA records."

Cacdac said that those who have questions or complaints regarding illegal recruiters and human traffickers may approach or call any of the central and regional offices of the POEA, Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Justice, Department of Foreign Affairs, Philippine National Police, National Bureau of Investigation, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, Bureau of Immigration, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, or the web sites or Facebook/Twitter pages of these agencies. (PNA)

SCS/FGP/EDS

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