Manila, the Philippines — Militant alliance of migrants´ organizations and associations in more than 80 countries, Migrante International, calls on government to investigate the case of 20 Filipinas allegedly being raped, repeatedly, in Dammam, Saudi Arabia.
In a statement sent to CBCP News, Migrante´s chairperson Garry Martinez said, last June 23, two (2) Filipina domestic helpers were just rescued this by the authorities, through the help of Migrante´s regional chapter in the Middle East. The said unnamed domestic helpers are now staying in the Philippine embassy in Saudi Arabia.
Martinez said, the said Filipinas were detained at the Maqpoon Belahodood General Service Company´s office, a recruitment agency owned and being managed by a certain Abu Khalid and their office in Manila had the chance to interview the survivors over the phone.
“They were able to tell about their harrowing ordeal while still in the hands of their Arab recruiter. The said victims were raped by Abu Khalid and we are now very much worried of the situation of other Pinays who were left behind in the said premises. Twenty lives are at stake here and the government should act on this immediately,” Martinez said.
In a press conference last June 27, Migrante had been able to present to the media another survivor, domestic helper Aileen Baldiray, who was also detained Abu Khalid´s recruitment office last May. She gave a detailed account of their plight together with twenty more Filipinas:
“Abu Khalid also tried to rape me. It was about 9:00 PM when he summoned me to his office downstairs. Upon entering the room, he told me to sit down in front of his desk and casually told me of his sex life. When he noticed that I was already getting nervous, Abu Khalid immediately took off his clothes. I grabbed a pen that I saw in his desk and warned him that if he pursues with his evil plan I would be forced to stab him,” says Badiray, almost crying when telling her story.
Before the frustrated rape incidnet, Badiray said, her fellow Filipinas also staying in the said building have already forewarned her about Abu Khalid´s real intention summoning her.
Badiray said, the said Filipinas who refused to be named by this time, were also raped in the same office, almost every night whenever the said Arab calls them.
They also claim that sometimes, Abu Khalid would even let his son or a friend rape them, Badiray furthered.
“Khalid became reluctant when he saw me with the pen. He then shouted at me to get out of the office and told me that I was the only Filipina in the building he was not able to ´taste´ yet and that he will make sure that he will be able to rape me next time around,” said the frustrated rape survivor.
Moreover, Badiray said that she was able to escape and stayed for a while in the Philippine embassy before repatriating to the Philippines last June 7, 2009.
“We demand that the Arroyo administration conduct an immediate rescue mission to save the 20 Filipinas who are still being held in the harem of Abu Khalid. The Philippine embassy in Saudi Arabia should also ensure that the said Filipinas be brought to a hospital for a medical treatment and that criminal cases be filed against Abu Khalid,” Martinez stressed.
Migrante also calls on the families of the victims to contact Migrante so that the local recruitment agencies here in Manila should also be held accountable. Migrante identified the said recruitment agency as AFT Company whose office is located in Ermita, Manila.
“We likewise urge President Arroyo to put on hold its intensifying labor exportation program. The biggest number of OFWs leaving the country is domestic helpers and their main destination is Saudi Arabia, a country who doesn´t even recognize the right of domestic helpers to have a day-off,” Martinez ended. (Appeared at the American Chronicle, the CBCPNews and Pinas: The Filipino’s Global Newspaper, in print)