Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Muhaidib
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Muhaidib

The Philippine government has been urged to investigate a claim that Filipino domestic workers are being auctioned in Saudi Arabia.

Manny Geslani, a labor-recruitment expert, confirmed that there were “sales” of Filipino maids in that country, especially in Riyadh, Business Mirror reported.

“The domestic workers have completely no control of where they are going to be sold or transferred by their sponsors,” Geslani said.

He also said employment agencies and the Philippine Overseas Labor Office should be responsible for monitoring workers’ whereabouts, and that any transfer of domestic workers to new employers should have the consent of POLO.

“The transfer of a domestic worker to a different employer without the approval of POLO is considered a violation of the Philippine-Saudi Special labor agreement,” he said.

Leila de Lima, a detained Philippine senator and anti-human-trafficking advocate, was alarmed over the allegations of domestic workers being auctioned, Manila Bulletin reported.

De Lima said the government must look into the alleged auctions and that Filipinos abroad should be protected, especially from abusive employers.

“The Filipino workers abroad, notably the most vulnerable household service workers, should be given guaranteed protection while they work hard to support their families here,” de Lima said.

She also called on employment agencies to check on the welfare of their workers and get updates on their whereabouts.

“The private recruitment agencies should check on the condition of the Filipino workers they have sent abroad, especially in Saudi Arabia, to ensure that they are safe and do not fall victims to human trafficking or slavery,” she said.

De Lima was arrested last year after condemning violence perpetrated under President Rodrigo Duterte’s “war on drugs.”

Read: Saudi Arabia ban considered after reports of maid auctions

Read: Manila calls for end to ‘kafala’ system in Middle East

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