18 December, International Migrants Day
In Filipino culture, CHRISTMAS is the most-awaited and happiest season for family reunions. Sadly, it is the loneliest for millions of Filipinos forced to leave their children in the Philippines as they seek better job opportunities abroad. It is the saddest time for children whose parents like Mary Jane Veloso have become victims of human trafficking, are facing death row or jailed in foreign countries.
Education Trafficking and Cyclical Exploitation
In New Zealand, a bleak Christmas season also awaits hundreds of dairy farmers victimized by fraudulent recruiters and the Christchurch rebuild workers who have been victims of contract substitution. Some Filipinos also experienced having their passports held by employers who paid them way below the minimum wage and had unexplained deductions from their wages.
Education trafficking through the international student visa option is another worrying trend in NZ. Filipinos like the hundreds of Indians and other nationals are victimized by recruiters who give deceptive information about the prospects of employment and the ultimate goal of permanent residency. Some students even arrive at the Auckland International Airport with no idea where to find accommodation as they were not met by the person who promised to pick them up.
International students are granted work rights up to 20 hours but many are caught in cyclical exploitation – they move from one short-term job to another but are paid below the minimum wage. On top of financial pressures to pay back debts for huge fees ranging from 1,000 – 1,500 NZ$ for their agents and the 17,000 – 22,000 NZ$ international students fees, they endure the hardships of being exploited temporary migrant workers in NZ.
Migrants’ Challenge to New PH President: Address the Roots of Forced Migration
Migrante Partylist envisions a Philippine economy where basic human needs are met without Filipinos being trapped in the cycle of debt and exploitation. For too long, the government has been dominated by ruling economic and political elite who consistently refuse to implement land reform and national industrialization that will surely create more decent jobs for Filipinos. Government can surely brag about the ever growing number of call center agents in the Philippines. But the call center industry can never save the majority of Filipinos still trapped in chronic landlessness, unemployment and underemployment.
Migrante joins the clamor for meaningful economic reforms. Under Aquino presidency, Filipinos endured another 6 years of broken promises to create more jobs at home and protect distressed Filipinos abroad. To date, there are around 15 million Filipino migrant workers around the globe, with an estimated 6,000 Filipinos leaving the country everyday.
In the coming 2016 elections, Migrante hopes to win 3 seats to represent Filipino migrants. Together with Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmenares who is running for Senator, we vow to push for stronger legislation to protect Filipinos from all forms of illegal recruitment and human trafficking. Join us in the global campaign of Filipino migrants to gain representatives in Congress and Senate who will truly fight for better protection for Filipinos at home and abroad. Be a Volunteer for Migrante Partylist and Neri Colmenares for Senator Movement!
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS AND STAND UP FOR MIGRANTS’ RIGHTS.