Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Filipinos Victimized

A week ago, I read a disturbing article at Sun Sentinel (Broward County Edition) about 50 Filipino workers here in Boca Raton, Florida who were victims of human trafficking (modern-day version of slavery). The alleged culprits? A Filipino couple who owned a staffing company. Filipinos taking advantage of their fellow Filipinos.

This is how it appeared at the Sun Sentinel:

Sophia Manuel, 41, and Alfonso Baldonado, Jr., 46, indicted by federal grand jury.

They came to America chasing a dream.

They were promised work as servers in Boca Raton's country clubs and hotels with assurance of high wages and overtime.

They got the work but not the money, and the married couple who brought the 50 Filipinos to Boca Raton treated them like slaves, according to a federal indictment released Wednesday.

Between July 2006 and June 2008, the victims were crammed into a house, threatened with arrest and deportation should they try to leave, and were not given enough food or water. They were kept from any outside communication and coaxed into believing there was no way out except working for measly wages, if any at all.

The suspects used false promises to entice the Filipinos to incur debts to pay upfront recruitment fees, and took away their passports, according to the indictment. Read more

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