THE Philippine Red Cross will now include abused Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in the list of people that it will rescue.
The Red Cross on Tuesday unveiled its program that seeks to rescue Filipina maids from their abusive employers. Its Chairman, Richard Gordon, said his group is setting up a 14-seater call center in Manila where household service workers, particularly those working in the Middle East, can call when they need help.
“We are setting up migration desks all over the country so Filipino workers abroad can call, or their families can call them,” Gordon said at the start of the two-day “Manila Conference on Migration 2015 Focus on the Most Vulnerable: Women Household Service Workers” at the Diamond Hotel in Manila.
Delegates from the Red Cross national societies of Asian countries attended the event, including Jagan Chapagain, director of International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) for Asia Pacific Zone and Dr. Mohammed Bin Ghanen Al-Maadheed, president of Qatar Red Cross Society and chairman of Doha Dialogue on Migration 2014.
Gordon said officials from Italy and England also committed to dialogue regularly in establishing protocols to help Filipino workers.
“Women migrant workers sacrificed a lot just to give better lives for their families. They endure separation from their families, they cannot supervise the rearing of their own children and they end up being left by their husbands. Abroad, they are prone to abuses, beatings, rape and other indignities,” he added.
He added that Red Cross will do everything, including the retrieval of passport from the employer, so they could be repatriated.
He said Red Cross volunteers in various countries have committed to help Filipinos who are in dire need of help. He said other Asian countries will also adopt the system.
Statistics showed that of the 232 million migrant workers, one out of five are engaged in domestic work. Some 43.2 million of them are women.
Gordon first lobbied to help troubled overseas Filipino workers at the 2011 conference in Geneva, Switzerland. Four years after, the Doha Dialogue on Migration was organized, hosted by Qatar Red Crescent.
Also present yesterday was Hans Leo Cacdac, administrator of Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, whose programs for Filipino migrants are templates for other Asian countries who are also engaged in sending their citizens abroad to work.
Currently, the Philippine Red Cross conducts Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar for Filipinos who plan to work abroad in partnership with concerned government agencies. It also provides counselling, psychosocial support, crisis intervention, home and school visits and ambulance services.