The Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) warned job seekers from considering Syria as their place of work destination due to the increasing lawless violence in the war-torn country.
Justice Undersecretary Jose Vicente B. Salazar, who recently re-assumed his position as undersecretary in-charge of IACAT, expressed concern over the high number of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in Syria despite the existing deployment ban imposed by the Philippine government and the hazards of working in a war zone where lawlessness is rampant. Salazar went on a one year study leave to finish his master's degree in public administration at the Harvard University.
“We have received information that some unscrupulous recruitment agencies have been circumventing the deployment ban by using networks in Dubai and Oman before their recruits head off to Syria...our OFWs risks going through several channels to reach Syria where there is a clear and imminent danger," he added.
“The government has consistently reminded the public that the deployment ban in Syria is still in effect,” Salazar said.
On August 17, 2011, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), an IACAT Council Member, issued Resolution No. 3, Series of 2011, through the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) governing board which imposed a total ban on the deployment of migrant workers to Syria.
The massive repatriation of OFWs from Syria starting the third quarter of 2012 up to the present was consistently documented by reports through mass media. Based on the investigations conducted by IACAT task forces, majority of the repatriated workers lacked proper travel documents and no existing records of leaving the country.
Returning OFWs from the strife-ridden country recounted how they were able to leave our borders through irregular ways resulting to the creation of strict departure formalities and other reforms in the prevention programs of the government in terms of trafficking in persons, particularly overseas.
Salazar expressed confidence that the measures employed by the government to prevent human trafficking, particularly the strict departure formalities, are sufficient in addressing fraudulent travels to other country that oftentimes result in exploitation. But nonetheless, he said, IACAT is asking the public not to be a party or a victim of the machinations of unscrupulous recruiters whose only motive is to earn money out of the misery of unsuspecting public.