News : Philippines Opens Helpline for Women Working Overseas
Manila, Philippines, May 12, 2015 — The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) has opened a 14-seat call centre that can be used by distressed women migrant workers to seek assistance, a senior official has said.
"The Philippines has established a 14-seat call centre to address the grievances of women overseas Filipino workers (OFWs)," said PRC chairman Richard Gordon, adding that his office has 143 hotlines that endangered OFWs and their relatives can call for assistance.
The International Red Cross and the Red Crescent Movement are part of the project that targets women foreign workers worldwide.
"The Red Cross and the Red Crescent are taking a strong posture now rather than being an observer. We are utilising the vast power of the movement so that people can call us when they help on the ground," said Gordon at the opening of a conference called "Red Cross and Red Crescent Manila Dialogue on Migration".
"We are using our 152 years of experience in governance to make sure that migrant workers are protected," said Gordon, adding the international communication lines offered to women migrant workers would be "a game changer," and "could save lives".
"Female migrant workers are most vulnerable to abusive employers and recruiters," Gordon observed.
He highlighted the plight of Mary Jane Veloso whose execution last month was stayed by Indonesian President Joko Widodo.
She was sentenced to death following her arrest for carrying 2.65kg of heroin at the Yogyakarta Airport in 2010.
Veloso and the Philippines government say she is a victim of human trafficking.
Participants of the conference will sign the "Manila Declaration," which contains protocols that will guide extension of assistance to women migrant workers, said Gordon. He did not give details.
There 232 million migrant workers worldwide, 43.2 million are women, the Red Cross said. There are 10 million OFWs worldwide, close to 50 per cent of them are women, other sources said.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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About Philippine Red Cross:
Born officially in 1947, but with roots that traces back to the revolutionary days, the Philippine Red Cross is a humanitarian organization in the country, committed to provide life-saving services.
Published: Wednesday, May 13, 2015