Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Maid - Unholy Acts In The Holiest Place (12)

Daring Escape (2)

Runaway Filipino Maid Claims She Was Raped  

RIYADH: A Filipino runaway staying in a villa some 250 km north of Riyadh has sought the assistance of the Philippine Embassy to get home, according to Vice Consul Roussel R. Reyes, Philippine Embassy officer–in-charge.
“The maid told us that she wanted to be with her two kids in the Philippines because she missed them,” he told Arab News on Wednesday.
He said that as soon as the staff of the embassy's Assistance to Nationals Section locate the villa where the maid and six other runaway maids are staying a team would be dispatched to ensure she is rescued.
The case of the maid, whose name is not being published to protect her privacy, was referred to the embassy after Arab News learned on Tuesday night that she wanted to go home.
Arab News contacted the maid after being notified of her situation by a community leader in Dammam.
The woman came to the Kingdom as a caregiver, but ended up as a maid earning SR800 a month.
Twelve days into this job, the sponsor returned her to the placement agency.
“My employer saw that working as maid, my nose was bleeding,” she said.
The agency was able to look for a job for her but worked for only 24 days because she claims her employer raped her.
“That was on Sept. 21, and on the same day I escaped and reported (the incident) to the agency, which did nothing when I complained that I was raped.
Eventually the agency got another job for me,” she said.
The six other maids do not want to be taken by the embassy because they are employed and do not want to return home.
“This is a simple case of human trafficking,” said a case officer at the Philippine Embassy.
“The six others do not want to go home because they are working.
Someone fetches them from their villa in the morning and brings them back in the evening.”
The officer said he suspected the person in charge of the maids has told the six maids who do not want to return home that if the embassy comes to rescue the maid they might also be taken in.
“This is something the six others don't like because they are working to earn,” he said.
“They don't want to go home yet.
That's also the reason why they asked Leonora (the pseudonym for the maid who wants to be rescued) to leave their accommodation.”
The officer pointed out that there are labor recruiting agencies that are accredited by the Saudi government but not by the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO).
Only POLO-accredited agencies can be directly ordered to assist maids in their care.
“The embassy does not have any control over agencies (not accredited by POLO),” said the officer.

Source: Arab News - January 13, 2011


Philippines Embassy narrowed its search for distress Leonora.

A text message was sent to them indicating the location of the villa, about two kilometers from Majmaa in Riyadh, about 250 km from Riyadh. 

The Pakistani men who looked after them did not allow her to venture out alone. 
Leonora was also scared to leave the villa and walk toward the city because she did not have an iqama or passport.

She claimed that she was asked by the six other runaway maids to leave the villa.
They were afraid that the embassy would also take them if and when the embassy rescues Leonora.

They did not want to go back to Philippines yet as they still want to continue working to earn.

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Another Run-Away Maid Seeks Embassy Help

RIYADH: A second maid of seven being housed illegally by a Pakistani man to be outsourced in the black labor market near Majmaa, Riyadh province, says she would like to return home.
“We are trying to locate the exact location of the villa where Ofie (not her real name), Leonora (not her real name) and five other maids are staying,” Philippine Embassy Charge dAffaires Ezzedin H. Tago told Arab News on Thursday.
The exact location of the villa where the women are illegally residing is unknown.
The house is believed to be located within two kilometers from Majmaa.
Leonora, who claims she was raped by her sponsor and later fled after he placement agency didnt respond to her complaint, has been trying to seek help from the Philippine Embassy to return home.
Meanwhile, the other six women residing at the villa have been urging Leonora to leave because they dont want to be discovered and deported.
Now one of those six women has reportedly come out saying she would also like to be repatriated.
Tago said that if and when the exact location of the villa can be ascertained, the embassy would rescue Ofie and Leonora in coordination with the local police.
The women do not have a clear idea of their precise location.
Talking to Arab News by phone Ofie said that she was working as a house cook and escaped from employer on Aug. 10.
“Before I went on vacation last year, my employer, a doctor working at the Security Forces Hospital, promised to increase my monthly salary from SR1,000 to SR1,200,” she said.
“But when I came back, his wife, who is a teacher, was giving me the same salary of SR1,000 she told me not to tell her husband about it.”
She added that the situation became worse when her employer hired another domestic worker, an Eritrean, with a salary of SR1,500.
“The Eritrean started giving orders to me and when I did not follow her she complained to the employers wife, saying that I did not want to work,” Ofie said.
Ofie said that she was being asked to work outside the kitchen.
“I told her that I had been hired mainly to cook food and do nothing else.
Besides, I wake up at 5 a.m. and she at 11 a.m.
She should have been be doing the things was asking me to do,” she said.
The circumstances took a turn for the worse when the Eritrean complained about Ofies work, angering the wife.
Ofie said she then contacted a Filipino beautician (who has since returned to the Philippines) and they agreed to leave their employers.
“Through another contact, we were able to reach the villa where were staying now.
Its also here where I met Leonora and the other maids who dont want to go home yet because they still want to work,” she said.
She said that she did not have money but if the embassy could bear the costs of her repatriation, shed like to go back to the Philippines to rejoin her family in Ifugao province north of Manila.
Ofie and her husband have three children.
The women work illegally and are being managed by a Pakistani man who could face jail time for housing and contracting workers who have fled their sponsors and now have illegal status in the Kingdom.

Source: A1 Saudi Arabia - January 21, 2011


In the mean time, Leonora ventured out with an Indian woman and a Pakistani driver named Arshad.
They left the villa in Majmaa. 

Arshad was supposed to drop her at Diriyah, at a supermarket along Exit 10 in Riyadh. 
From there, she would call the embassy requesting someone to pick and brought her to Bahay Kalinga, BK, a temporary shelter for runaway maids run by members of the Filipino community. 
But the last call she made to the embassy  was to inform of being taken to the police station.

Embassy officials would seek the help of local authorities in Riyadh and Majmaa to find the Indian woman and Arshad, who might be involved in human trafficking.


Case Officer To Visit Filipino Maids In Prison

RIYADH: A Philippine Embassy case officer will visit a womens prison in Riyadhs Malaz district on Wednesday to talk to two Filipino maids arrested on suspicion of being runaways.
He will hope to speak to Leonora and Ofie (not their real names) regarding the circumstances surrounding their arrest by the police.
“The embassy has requested for a permit to visit Nisa prison in Malaz district so that I can talk to the two runaway maids whom the police arrested,” the officer handling the two maids case told Arab News on Monday.
The case officer made the statement after police called the embassy to say that they could not get any information from Leonora and Ofie regarding their case.
They had run away from their sponsors in Riyadh to Majmaa, but then decided to return to the capital.
The following day, the two maids were arrested by the police in a villa in Diriya with three Indian nationals.
“The police said that after giving few personal details such as their names, Leonora and Ofie clammed up when asked about their sponsors.
Its probable that they are trying not to unnecessarily incriminate others who might be involved in their case,” the case officer said. Leonora had given her name as Kristine Ali Noor.
“Much has been known about Leonora, whose case had also been reported by other newspapers catering for overseas Filipinos, but not Ofie.
Unlike Leonora, we dont even know her real name, which part of the country she comes from, if she has a family or not, and details of the Philippine agency that processed her papers for deployment to Saudi Arabia,” he said.
One newspaper published from Bahrain carried a story on Leonora, giving her name as Leonor.
Earlier, Leonora told Arab News that she arrived in the Kingdom in the middle of 2010 to work as a caregiver, but ended up working as a maid.
When she complained, her employers wife took her to the local agency that deployed her.
The agency placed her with another employer who allegedly raped her.
“Because of the incident, I escaped and went to the agency, which did nothing regarding my complaint,” she said.
The agency eventually looked for another employer, but as things were getting worse for Leonora, she escaped.
She and Ofie were helped by a Filipino woman to go to Majma.
Their helper has since gone back to the Philippines.

Source: A1 Saudi Arabia - February 15, 2011


Stranded Filipino Maids To Be Repatriated  

RIYADH: The Philippine Embassy announced on Monday that two Filipino housemaids caught with three Indian nationals in a villa in Diriyah in February would soon be repatriated to the Philippines.
Leonora and Ofie (not their real names) are still being held at a women’s jail in the Malaz district in Riyadh.
“Leonora’s documents are now being prepared.
Then it will be sent to the governor’s office for approval.
After that, a plane ticket will be issued,” an embassy official told Arab News on Monday.
He added that Ofie’s travel documents had been processed earlier and a plane ticket would also be issued to her.
“A plane ticket is normally issued by the Saudi government.
Otherwise, the embassy will provide it,” he added.
He also said that Leonora, who was imprisoned in February, had been sentenced to four months in prison and 70 lashes.
Her prison term ends next week.
He added that Ofie’s travel documents had been issued earlier because she did not receive a custodial sentence.
“Maybe it was because she was able to convince police authorities that she was merely a victim and not doing anything wrong,” the official said, adding that Leonora was unhappy that she had been jailed instead.
In February, Arab News reported that Leonora and Ofie went missing after leaving their villa in Majma, some 250 km north of Riyadh.
They were already in Diriyah when Leonora allegedly called the embassy to say that they had been arrested by the police.
“It was not true that the police stopped them,” the embassy official said.
“The truth is, it was only Leonora who was dropped by a Pakistani driver in Diriyah.
Ofie, who was romantically linked with one of the three Indians, had earlier left Majma for Diriyah in Riyadh,” he said.
He added that it was obvious Leonora had asked the driver to drop her in Diriyah as per an earlier arrangement with Ofie.
The embassy official added that early one morning police caught them with the three Indians.
Ofie was reportedly drunk and shouting.
“The neighbors probably called and complained to the police.
The police responded and found out that Leonora, who gave her Muslim name as Kristine Ali Noor, and Ofie were with the three Indians,” he said.
Leonora had earlier told Arab News that she asked the driver to drop her in front of a supermarket.
The driver was also reportedly having an affair with one of five other Filipino runaway maids in Majma.
From the supermarket, she was supposed to call the embassy and ask officials to pick her up and take her to the Bahay Kalinga (BK), a government shelter where stranded Filipino women stay while awaiting repatriation to the Philippines.
Leonora, who had been separated from her husband before she left the Philippines for Saudi Arabia, comes from Baguio City north of Manila.
She has three kids who are being looked after by her mother.
Before coming to Saudi Arabia, she had worked in a gasoline station and a restaurant in Baguio City. Ofie, on the other hand, is from Ifugao.

Source: Arab News - May 3, 2011

1 comment:

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