How the 'sex-for-flight' scheme works

Posted at 06/21/13 9:40 PM

MANILA - A syndicate allegedly involving some unscrupulous Philippine embassy and labor officials in the Middle East is behind the "sex-for-flight" scheme that has victimized Filipinas, according to a migrant labor rights group.

John Leonard Monterona, Middle East and North Africa coordinator of Migrante International, revealed the information based on accounts given to the group by some alleged victims.

"The embassy and labor official normally will ask an OFW ward at the Bahay Kalinga or Filipino Workers Resource Center (FWRC) [for] runaways and distressed, if she has money to pay for her own airplane tickets, payment for penalties being an absconder, and payment to her sponsor-employer who usually ask a reimbursement of her deployment cost," he said.

Monterona, in a statement to media, said most distressed and runaway OFWs do not have money.

"The official, who is an alleged member of the syndicate operating inside the Philippine embassy/labor offices in the Middle East, will discreetly talk to the OFW ward to offer an 'indecent proposal' of having a prospective 'client' in exchange for cash," he added.

Monterona also alleged that at night, the OFW will be fetched by either a driver or any local-hire staff of the embassy and labor officials who are members of the syndicate.

"Amount, per information direct from the OFW ward as victims of 'sex-for-flight' modus, ranges from 500 rials to 1,000 rials. Some very desperate OFW wards are accepting as low as 100 to 300 rials," he said.

Four migrant Filipina workers who were allegedly victimized in a sex trade scheme by a labor official met with Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario on Friday to reveal details of how they were abused.

The foreign affairs and labor departments are now investigating the cases.