Protecting Traffickers and Sex Offenders
As someone who has kept track of the trafficking of our OFWs, all I can say is that enforcement and prosecution is dismal at best. For instance, despite massive evidence on trafficking involving Embassy personnel in Kuwait gathered by Assistant Secretary Lila Shahani of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the Department of Justice has dragged its feet on investigating wrongdoings and practically absolved all higher-level personnel from prosecution.
How can the Department of Foreign Affairs inspire confidence in OFWs when it conceals the fact that one of its personnel raped an OFW in the Teheran Embassy?
As for the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), it has behaved as a mafia protecting its people from efforts by the House Committee on Overseas Workers’ Affairs (COWA) to bring its erring personnel to justice. The labor attaché in Saudi Arabia accused of trying to bribe an OFW who brought charges of attempted rape against his driver received a penalty of one-month suspension, while an assistant labor attaché in the same post who tried to rape an OFW right in the Embassy labor office in Riyadh was given a simple “reprimand at first instance,’ whatever that is!
Such taps on the wrist, as the Inquirer put it in a recent editorial, “make the blood boil.” It continued: “Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz’s defense is that the women’s failure to give further testimony weakened the case. This is shocking and outrageous. The DOLE has all the resources it needs to pursue the case—if it wants to. The sexual assault of OFWs by the officials sworn to protect them is terrible enough, but the failure to punish such lowlifes is even more so.”
Such outrageous acts meant to protect sexual criminals on the part of key government agencies underline the fact that the situation with respect to enforcement, in fact, worsened overall in 2013 and tempt one to the conclusion that the Philippines should have been demoted to its place on the Tier 2 Watch List it occupied prior to 2011. The Philippines probably retained its status owing to a desire of the State Department to support President Aquino’s anti-corruption campaign.
Read more: http://opinion.inquirer.net/75947/the-us-state-department-slavery-report-did-the-philippines-get-the-right-grade#ixzz35szih1do
Follow us:@inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook