Stay away from Kuwait
Last Saturday, I had the occasion to visit two of our OFWs who have returned from Kuwait. They were staying at the OWWA Center, which had booked their tickets for the journey home.
Both women suffered multiple rapes at the hands of Kuwaiti nationals. One of them was sold to a brothel by a Filipina headhunter who calls up her compatriots and offers them a better-paying job somewhere else. The unsuspecting maid thereafter escapes from the home of her employer and boards a taxi that the headhunter arranges. The cab driver brings the victim to a rented apartment where she is placed under lock and key. The victim is fed well and promised a good job. When night falls, a male customer is ushered into her room and the inevitable happens. Every night, there is always more than one customer. The headhunter is paid on a per head basis; she confiscates the mobile phone of every victim and raids its contact folder in search of new flesh to sell using the same modus operandi.
The second victim spoke of a harrowing experience when she was abducted by two men in a cab. They brought her to a clearing in the desert and raped her. They took her back to the city, a limp rag doll, crying and in pain.
These are our compatriots, two out of thousands, raped not once, but several times. One of them is married. She will have to return home in an altered state, always fearful, deeply traumatized, but unable to tell her husband why.
Stay away from Kuwait, was their message to prospective women OFWs.
P6,000 in salary – not always given on time and in exchange for complete servitude – is not worth the risk of being raped. What they told me next was chilling — they said we were not the only victims. The one who was whisked off to an apartment said she saw several other women, including Filipinas, there. How was she able to escape, I asked. Through the bathroom window, she replied.
OWWA and the Blas F. Ople Policy Center are helping them start afresh. It won’t be easy. But at least they’re home.