Philippine Consulate Office concerned about detained cruise ship - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Philippine Consulate Office concerned about detained cruise ship

Posted: Jul 09, 2018 2:33 PM Updated:

The Philippine Consulate Office in Guam says it's deeply concerned by reports that Filipino authorities have detained a cruise ship bound for Yap on human trafficking charges.  The vessel was supposed to provide extra room accommodations for this weekend's Micronesia games. But a tip led to the discovery of 139 undocumented workers who claim they were offered jobs in Yap. 

It was the 146-room cruise ship the Forever Lucky that was supposed to head to Yap, but the Philippine coast guard intercepted the vessel  and discovered the passengers on board lacked the required documentation. Philippine Vice Consul Alex Vallespin said, "The enforcement agencies in the Philippines are conducting the human trafficking case or angle for this, because definitely, undocumented, you will bring them to a foreign place to work. That's basically human trafficking."

He commends the Philippine coast guard and FBI, and says the consulate was aware that a cruise vessel might be providing accommodations during the games, but they did not know there were people on board who were reportedly recruited to work as tattoo artists, massage therapists and even pig roasters.

Vallespin says they were never authorized, telling KUAM News, "All those will be authenticated by the foreign service post that has jurisdiction over the place of destination, in this case Yap is under our jurisdiction since there is no Philippine overseas labor office here, it's the consulate that does the authentication."

Overseas Filipino Workers are the backbone of the country's economy. The government has become very strict about foreign recruitment and created the powerful Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, which is charged with protecting OFWs. "Filipinos without a recruitment agency, they're on their own and they can be subject to abuses," said Vallespin.

"So we would like, the Philippine government would like to prevent those from happening."

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