Physically abused Filipina house helper rescued after Facebook posts of bruised body
A Filipina house helper was immediately rescued by her recruitment agency in cooperation with the Philippine Embassy and local authorities after she posted photos of her body with bruises inflicted by her employer.
Dahlia, a thirty-two-year-old house helper and mother from the Quezon province in the Philippines, posted photos of her bruised body on Facebook after she was severely whipped by her female employer with a big belt and buckle. In an exclusive interview with Dahlia she told The Times that she arrived in Kuwait in 2012 and worked for a family for ten months but later complained to her agency that she was given limited food.
By coincidence another employer was looking for a house helper and she was immediately deployed there by her agency. Dahlia finished her two years contract and advised her employer and was allowed to leave this month. However her employer changed the decision and asked her to leave next month, which Dahlia agreed to avoid further discussions. Early this month, Dahlia again was advised that she will only be allowed to leave by the third week of August, which caused alarm and suspicion that she will not be able to return home anymore. It was then she decided to refuse work.
Morning of June 16, Dahlia was asked by her female employer to prepare breakfast but she refused to obey, which triggered anger and later persisted to violent physical acts. “My Madam was so upset and cursed me; she took a belt and started hitting me with it. I could not recollect as to how many times she hit me, all I could hear were sounds of the metal buckle hitting my head; I went downstairs and my male employer intervened and took the belt from my female employer. She even told me that I will not get my salary, will not be able to return home and will die before I can go home”, said Dahlia.
Dahlia wasted no time and posted her bruised body on Facebook with hopes that her friends will be able to find help. Dahlia’s husband after seeing the photos contacted her agency Khalda Sulaiman and asked for help, immediately the agency secretary contacted Dahlia and told her to stand by for rescue. The agency informed the Assistance to the Nationals Unit (ATNU) of the Philippine Embassy and coordinated with local authorities in case police assistance will be required. “Vice Consul Shiena Tesorero called me and told me that help is coming. I received a call from my agency and was told to go out of the house, rescue group was waiting outside my house and I was immediately taken back to my agency and the following day to Hateen Shelter where a case officer Joan Mae Acero is now preparing documents so a case can be filed against my employer” added Dahlia. Department of Foreign Affairs House Parent Russel Ocampo told The Times that Dahlia has been sent for medical examination and is now currently under the custody of the embassy, she is also receiving counseling and shelter until such time she can be repatriated home.
Dahlia was in tears when she was asked as to where she drew strength while she was being physically abused, “I have my mother and son in my mind while these things were happening, I promised myself I still want to return home and be with them. I want to tell my mom and friends that I am now safe in the embassy, where no one can hurt and abuse me and urge all other house helpers to be always vigilant, strong and unafraid. I thank my agency for the quick action and the ATNU for their assurance and hope that justice will be served”.
At present, The Philippine Embassy in Kuwait has two shelters; The Philippine Overseas Labor Office and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration located beside the embassy in Faiha and the Assistance to the Nationals Unit in Hateen. Both shelters are open 24 hours to receive and provide assistance to Philippine nationals.
- Ricky Laxa