What would you do if you were an abused migrant worker? Who could you turn to for support abroad? What would you do if your own country couldn’t help you?
Such was the case for exploited Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) seeking counseling in embassy-run shelters in Kuwait.1 Embassy and shelter staff lacked the capacity to provide adequate services to distressed OFWs. In response, government took an important step in protecting distressed OFWs in overseas shelters by sending a Social Welfare Officer (SWO) to the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait.
Social Welfare Officers have been assigned to 8 of the top 11 destination and high-risk countries for Filipinos working abroad.
However, Singapore, Taiwan, and Bahrain top the list with nearly 250,000 total OFWs but still don’t have Social Welfare Officers in place.2 We know the face the same challenges as fellow Filipinos in Kuwait – they need counseling and rehabilitation, which only a professional social worker can oversee.
Department of Social Welfare and Development Sec. Dinky Soliman should commit to requesting the placement of Social Welfare Officers in Singapore, Taiwan, and Bahrain.