Over 35 female workers, some as young as 12, from the Philippines revealed their horror stories of being abused, sexually violated, imprisoned, and even sold into slavery in Syria, according to the Washington Post.
This newly-released report revealed the women sought refuge in the Philippine embassy in Damascus; to complain about the abnormal working conditions while working for affluent families. Many requested assistance to return to their homeland.
17 Filipino women and children workers revealed details about their experience in Syria as some of the victims were denied payment for the work they were tricked into, according to Albawaba
One of the victims, named Flordeliza Arejola stated, “My employer slapped me and put my head into the wall. I escaped because he did not give me salary for nine months.”
Some of these abused women have stayed at their embassy for around three years waiting to be deported back home. The victims shared horror stories; from being locked in their rooms, deprived of breakfast for as long as two weeks, or being pressed by staff to return to work.
The victims stated that they applied for 30-day tourist visas by recruitment agencies to the United Arab Emirates. Once they arrived in the gulf country, they were kept in cramped, dirty living quarters, then they were offered to go to war-ravaged areas in Syria to work for rich families and for better living conditions. When they refused, their lives were threatened.
Many women experienced verbal abuse, violence, and sexual assault, according to Albawaba.
A 48-year-old victim said she “felt like a prostitute” after arriving in Syria “because we all stand in a line, and the employers choose who they want,” explaining that wealthy people there were able to pay $8,000 to $10,000 to take one woman home.