As told by victims to Migrante officers in Saudi Arabia, the “sex-for-flight” scheme allegedly being employed by some embassy and labor officials usually operates like this:
1. An embassy or labor official asks a runaway or distressed overseas Filipino worker at the Bahay Kalinga or Filipino Workers Resource Center if she has money to pay for her own return airplane ticket and the fines imposed on her for being an absconder, and to reimburse her sponsor-employer the cost of her deployment.
2. Seven out of 10 OFWs in the center, as expected, have no money and are, in fact, in dire need of help from the officials and the government. The official, who is reportedly a member of a syndicate operating inside the Philippine Embassy/labor offices in the Middle East, discreetly talks to a penniless OFW to offer an “indecent proposal” which includes cash payment in return.
3. At nighttime, the OFW is fetched by either the driver or any local-hire staff of the embassy and labor officials, the ring leaders behind the sex-for-flight modus operandi.
4. Based on information from reliable sources, the amount given to sex-for-flight victims ranges from 500 rials to 1,000 rials. Some very desperate OFWs accept as low as 100 rials to 300 rials.
We are urging OFW sex-for-flight victims to get in touch with us, or with any Migrante officers in Saudi Arabia and other Mideast countries, so that we can assist them in filing the formal complaints against the sex-for-flight ringleaders. We will also try to arrange with the concerned authorities for their security and safety, as well as to protect their real names and identity.
—JOHN LEONARD MONTERONA, coordinator,
Migrante Middle East and North Africa, [email protected]