Helping distressed OFWs bounce back
TO WHAT extend are you willing to earn a living?
Ronald Espiritu, a 33-year-old oversea Filipino worker (OFW) based in Miami, Florida endured hunger, fatigue, and worse, a measly salary—way below the minimum wage—just to make a living, according to a report in Pinoy-OFW.com. Along with a group of fellow Filipino workers, Espiritu may have had never seen daylight outside W South Beach hotel, Lincoln Road’s Quattro Italian restaurant, and Admiral’s Cove country club in Jupiter where he worked 100 hours weekly as a waiter and bellboy. His nights weren’t any better. As if there was enough time for a recommended eight-hour sleep, Espiritu always returned to a small barrack, where he and several other Filipinos were compressed like solid molecules, organized by the employment agency which brought him in Miami. But did money make it all worth while? Not really. Espiritu was paid only $6 per hour, which is below the minimum wage of $7.67. And sometimes, according to Espiritu, they weren’t paid at all. Espiritu and his fellow countrymen abroad was a clear victim of human trafficking, which is common to Filipinos. One million Filipinos migrate abroad every year for work opportunites, while 10 million Filipinos currently live and work abroad, according to the International Labor Organization. Meanwhile, a report commissioned by U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton titled “2011 U.S. Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report” placed the Philippines under Tier 2 for failing to comply with the Trafficking Victims Protection Act’s minimum standards for the anihilation of human trafficking. According to a June 2012 US Department of State report, Filipinos are easy targets for exploitation, adding that they are usually subjected to violence, threats, inhumane living conditions, withholding of salaries, and travel and identity of documents. But the government and several non-government organizations (NGO) are cooperating to...
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