Today in New York City, worker rights group Damayan organized a press conference to bring attention to the human trafficking and exploitation of migrant domestic workers from the Philippines. Several Freedom Network members were there to show support, including FN Chair Emerita Florrie Burke, and staffers from Safe Horizon (pictured with Damayan).
Many direct social service organizations in the Freedom Network collaborate closely with grassroots worker rights groups or cultural organizations in order to reach and serve trafficking survivors.
A survivor named Dema told her story, one that has been echoed by dozens upon dozens of migrant women workers in New York City, Washington, DC, and other cities around the U.S.: she was forced to work extremely long hours for barely any pay, her living conditions were inhumane, and her passport was taken by the diplomat who employed her. Eventually with the help of Damayan, she was able to win back her dignity and unpaid wages.
But rather than just telling a horrifying tale and asking for the public’s sympathy, the organizers, workers, and survivors at Damayan spoke out to demand justice and government accountability for the trafficking of domestic workers. In particular, they are demanding:
*The A3/G5 visa programs are special visas created to allow diplomats and employees of international organizations such as the World Bank and IMF to bring over domestic workers to work in their households.
In addition, Damayan is pushing for the creation of a trafficking task force at the Philippine Consulate to create public, transparent, and permanent protocols including the above, with Damayan worker representatives, to address labor trafficking of domestic workers.
On September 21st at 4PM, the group will be holding a rally at the Philippine Consulate in New York City.
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