Destination : Kuwait, Status :Sexually abused

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DAVAO CITY (September 8)— When Christina left Mindanao nine months ago  to work in Kuwait, she was full of hope–  build  a house for her family, see her four children finish their studies and be able to immediately bail the loaned property of her parents she  spent for her trip.

She arrived at her employer’s house on November 11, 2017. She missed her children but she needed to be strong because she has a dream for them.

But her dreams turned a  nightmare, On February 23,   when her employer started to sexually abuse her.

The male employer made her a sex slave.  She was locked in a room, not allowed to talk to other househelp and,  worse, not allowed to hold the  key of  her own room.

Despite her plight, Cristina tried to make her family feel  she was okay “I send all my salary to my family, they did not know my problem.”

But as the days go on, she became restless and scared,. She even planned to end her life.

Until early August,  she mustered  the emotional strength to ask for help via the social media-facebook.

Christina’s  fellow OFW messaged on August 29,  asking the news agency to help her. Conversation with Cristina

On the same  day, the news agency sought the help of Presidential Assistant Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, who immediately acted on the request and contacted the Philippine embassy in Kuwait.

Yesterday, Christina landed in Manila.  She is home with shattered dreams but happy to be alive.

She worked with three other househelps in Kuwait but her ordeal was kept under wrapped because her male employer threatened her to pay the P150,000 recruitment and travel expenses.

She reported the problem to her agency, but to her dismay, she was told “Next time when he will rape you, you take a video for you to  have an evidence, because we cannot get a lawyer without a proof.”

She endured until the day she was rescued.

On September 4, at about 9:00 in the morning (2pm Philippine time),   the Kuwaiti police fetched her from her employer and,  brought her to the police station where Philippine embassy lawyer was waiting.

But before they reached the police station, a policeman informed her, she need to stay one more year in Kuwait if she will file a case against her employer,   for the trial.

Inside the police station, embassy lawyer  asked her to file a case, but she refused “Wala ko nag-file ug kaso mam, magdugay ko didto, mahadluk na ko (I did not file a case,I will stay longer, I am afraid).”

Her employer tried to deny her story  but “Gipa-face to face man mi sa police- ako syang gi-diritso –akong gi-ingon ang mga dates nga iya kung gi-rape wala na sya motingong, nihangyo sya, dili na lang ko mo file ug kaso – palitan ko nila ug ticket para makauli dayon ko,  gitagaan ko niya ug balon, gamay lang, pero at least karon naka-uli na ko.”

(We had a face to face with the police, I told him straight and revealed the dates when he raped me, he was speechless, he  pleaded that I will not file a case, that they will buy ticket immediately for me to be home, and he gave me money -only small amount, but at least I am home now.)

Now that she is home, she has to find a way to feed her four children (the youngest is two).

Above all, she has to pay the money from a loan shark and their motorbike which is still encumbered on a monthly amortization.

These are over and above the medical requirement for her ailing mother.  Her husband works as a carpenter.

Christina admitted “I don’t know what to do, but I know God will help me, it will be difficult,  but here I am no longer scared, I am free from my employer, I will slowly pick up pieces of my shattered life -I cannot forget my ordeal but I need to be strong for my family and my children.”

Christina is just one of the hundreds of abused  OFWs   in Kuwait, but like her, they  suffer in silence, because they need to send money back home-they need to survive and sacrifice for their loved ones.

On May 11, 2018,  the Philippine Government and Kuwait signed  a Memorandum of Agreement  (MOA)  to end abuses and provide healthy working environment for OFW’s. This, after Duterte banned sending OFW’s in said country.

But  Cristina’s story is a proof that the MOA is not enough to protect the Filipino workers.

Cristina thanked Go and President Rodrigo Duterte for all the help, she also thanked NewsLine for extending a hand  while she was in a challenging situation.-Editha Z. Caduaya/

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