Seven human trafficking victims arrived safely from Syria at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on Sunday, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), through the Office of Undersecretary of the Migrant Worker’s Affairs (DFA-OUMWA), said on Tuesday.

The current batch of repatriates from Syria, who suffered abuse at the hands of their respective employers, sought refuge at the Philippine Embassy in June 2021. The DFA held talks with the employers and the recruitment agencies, as well as government officials of the Syrian Arab Republic, for the prompt and appropriate issuance of exit visas.

“The repatriation of these seven trafficking survivors from Syria reflects the DFA’s continuing commitment towards protecting and assisting each and every one of our distressed kababayan who are in need of help and assistance,” said Undersecretary Sarah Lou Y. Arriola.

The trafficking survivors will be assisted in the filing and prosecution of criminal complaints against the perpetrators for violating the Anti-Human Trafficking in Persons act under Republic Act 9208 (as amended), as well as acts of illegal recruitment prohibited under Republic Act 8042 (as amended).

Philippine government agencies led by the DFA, as well as the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking, Bureau of Immigration as well as the Philippine Coast Guard, were present to welcome the repatriates and conduct debriefing as well to orient the them on Covid -19 arrival and health protocols.

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