Sri Lanka International Airport. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

A Filipino migrant worker, who left her employer three years ago after she was illegally recruited, became stranded at Sri Lanka International Airport for six days on her way home.

According to Susan Ople, the head of the Blas Ople Policy Center and Training Institute, Filipino Sunshine Sereno, 34, had been working in Qatar and had been illegally recruited in late February, The Filipino Times reported.

Sereno only worked for one month and left her employer as she could not tolerate the working conditions. She asked to return home to the Philippines. She had to travel from Doha, Qatar, to Colombo in Sri Lanka, then Hong Kong, before reaching the Philippines.

When Sereno was about to board her flight to Hong Kong from Sri Lanka, she discovered her employer had canceled her ticket. She could not board the plane and could not go out of the airport without the appropriate visa. “On top of that, she faced arrest by the immigration police unless she could produce a ticket home,” Ople said.

Sereno stayed in the airport for six days and was left to beg for food and drink from a public drinking fountain. She took advantage of the airport’s Wi-Fi to contact her sister in Hong Kong and a family friend in Russia to inform them of her situation. Her family friend reached out to Ople, who then contacted the Department of Foreign Affairs to assist Sereno.

Sereno was finally given a ticket by her sister and was able to return to Manila.

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