Syndicates based in Dubai are illegally deploying Filipinos to Iraq, the Department of Foreign Affairs said Thursday.
"Trafficking syndicates have been luring victims by offering to advance the cost of their travel to Dubai where high-paying jobs are supposed to be waiting for them," the DFA said in a statement.
Filipino victims are trafficked through Erbil in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq and then smuggled to Baghdad or Basra, the department said.
The victims enter Dubai using tourist visas and are then made to work without pay supposedly as part of their "training."
"Once their visas are about to expire, the victims are told to accept jobs in Iraq or pay the syndicates the US$3,000.00 they supposedly spent for their deployment," the DFA said.
Recently, the Philippine Embassy in Baghdad rescued two Filipinas from the southern province of Basra with the help of a local anti-human trafficking group.
A deployment ban remains in effect over Iraq.
The Embassy warned Filipinos who enter Iraq without visas that they will face imprisonment and hefty penalties if caught.
"Filipinos who want to work abroad to first check job offers with the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration," the DFA said.
There are 4,000 Filipinos working in Iraq, with around 3,000 based in Kurdistan.
The Philippines is among the world's top labor exporters with around 10 million skilled and unskilled workers scattered abroad, earning more than they could in their homeland, where jobs are scarce and poverty is widespread. — BM, GMA News