The protection and support of the Filippino community in Bahrain were stressed as officials visited the Philippine Embassy. The UK's Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner Dame Sara Thornton gained an insight into the work undertaken by the Philippine Embassy to protect and support Filipino citizens working in Bahrain.
Dame Sara and members of the British Embassy met with Deputy Head of Mission Maria Paz Cortes and team in advance of Dame Sara's attendance at the first Inter-Governmental Forum on Combatting Trafficking in Persons in the Middle East, hosted by Bahrain.
The UK's Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner visited the Embassy’s Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipino Workers Centre. Dame Thornton stressed that her visit aims to gather more insight on the important work being done by the Embassy to protect and support Filipinos working in Bahrain, particularly with respect to running a shelter for distressed Filipinos.
Six residents of the shelter were informally interviewed by Dame Thornton as they freely shared their stories. Most of them worked from 4 am till 12 midnight with very little food and no off days, among other complaints stated the embassy.
According to the Philippines embassy, a news article published a day after the Government Forum, Dame Thornton was quoted to have shared that she was able to interview three Filipinas who escaped their employers during a vacation in London, as well as six women staying in the Philippine shelter in Bahrain.
She commented that all nine women have very similar experiences. Based on these experiences, she called on governments to further intensify efforts to curb modern slavery and trafficking and emphasized that employers should be educated that it is not right to ask their household workers to work for 20 hours in a day.