Filipina expat forced to work as prostitute in Arab country

There are many Filipinas/os in the Middle East, most of whom are looking for good employment opportunities so that they can send money back home- often to send their children to work. It’s a sad situation. Even more so, when we learn that the mother is forced into prostitution and documents taken away.

 I spotted this on the website of Khaleej Times, a national newspaper in the UAE.

 Filipina expat forced to work as prostitute in Arab country

Filed on September 19, 2018 | Last updated on September 19, 2018 at 05.58 pm


She returned to the Philippines following her escape from her employer last week.

Cecile Tubadan, a 32-year-old mother from Leon Postigo town, was elated when an opportunity to work in Lebanon presented itself. 

The recruiter, a sister of her live-in partner, seemed trustworthy that she did not hesitate to fly to Lebanon to work as a housemaid on a tourist visa.

It was too late when she learned she was deceived.

Tubadan narrated her ordeal to the Philippine News Agency on Monday, four days after she returned to the country following her escape from an employer - who physically abused her when she refused to work as a prostitute.

"I agreed because I'm jobless, I have four children, and I cannot rely on the money sent by my partner," Tubadan said.

She said it was her live-in partner's sister, Myrene Salvador Abuan,  who enticed her to work in Lebanon for $400 a month. 

Abuan is married to Syrian Hashim Ali, who endorsed her to SREIH Services, a housemaid agency in Lebanon, which paid the couple $800 for bringing in the unsuspecting Tubadan.

Tubadan said her focus was on earning money for her family that she did not mind going to Lebanon on July 19, 2018, supposedly as an overseas contract worker.

"I have no contract, no work documents--nothing, but I still went to Lebanon because I trusted Myrene," Tubadan said.

She was told to work at the house of the Alis until they can find her an employer. But then everything changed, Tubadan said, when Ali told her to work as a prostitute disguised as masseuse at a spa.

Tubadan claimed that Ali beat her and barred her from going out of their apartment building when she refused.

After several weeks, Tubadan recalled she posted on Facebook an appeal for her rescue, which was seen by her relatives and a neighbor in Leon Postigo, William Anadeo, a school teacher in their town.

Anadeo sought the help of first district Rep. Seth Frederick Jalosjos, who immediately sent a letter to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), which promptly ordered its embassy in Lebanon to find Tubadan.

Meanwhile, Tubadan said she got the chance to escape on September 11 when Hashim Ali was not at home.

She asked permission from Myrene Salvador Abuan to go to the prayer meeting of fellow Filipinos at an apartment at the ground floor.

With the help of friends, she was slipped out of the building and brought to a coffee shop where she was fetched by a relative and brought to the Philippine Embassy.

According to Tubadan, embassy officials demanded SREIH Services to return her travel documents and give her plane ticket back home or they would bring her case to the Lebanese government.

The owners of SREIGH Services agreed, but also had Tubadan sign a document stating that she would not file a case against the agency.

On September 13, Tubadan was able to fly back to Manila.

Upon arriving in Dipolog, she immediately went to thank Jalosjos, and to ask the lawmaker to help three other distressed Filipinas at the apartment of Hashim Ali.

"There are a lot of Filipinas who need help," she said, "there were about a hundred at the embassy. They could not come home because they still have legal cases or they have no money."

In most cases, Tubadan said that victims of illegal recruitment and human trafficking in Lebanon were recruited by either friends or relatives. 

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