Activists rally coast to coast against trafficking of Filipino teachers

By Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

March 18, 2014

San Francisco – Filipino-American activists from coast-to-coast took to the streets Monday to call to end the ongoing problem of human trafficking.

These activists say there are about 300 Filipino teachers were trafficked from the Philippines by recruitment agencies associated with a certain Isidro Rodriguez.

One of those reportedly victimized is a 40-year-old Filipino who asked not to be identified. He said he paid his recruiter $20,000 in fees for better opportunities abroad. But he claims his recruiter’s promises of a teaching job with decent pay were not kept when he finally arrived in America in 2008.

Meantime, other Filipino-American activists in New York say they are launching a campaign, not just to help the victims, but to hold unscrupulous recruiters accountable.

“We’re here to fight for justice for the teachers were victims of human trafficking,” Gabriela USA’s Maui Villapando said.

The teachers, whose ages range from mid-20s to 60s, reportedly even had to borrow thousands of dollars from loan sharks to pay recruitment and placement fees to agencies who never meant to give them good jobs.

These advocates say what’s worse is that these recruitment agencies are licensed and certified by the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency or POEA.

The teachers’ H1B work visas were allegedly obtained using falsified documents so most victims end up jobless and abandoned in the US.

“So far there are about 100 teachers who are in Washington, DC who were victims of Isisdro Rodriguez, the owner of Great Provider Services,” Villapondo said. “And there are other teachers who went to other states.”

“Some of them were actually forced to take low-wage type work, like in a daycare center,” Gabriela’s Zarah Vinbola said, “I’m also a high school teacher myself, this is really close to me, right now they still don’t have documentation and we’re really trying to push for them to get a trafficked visa.”

Rodriguez has since been arrested and is now detained in the Philippines, after an entrapment operation for violating the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipino Act.

“First and foremost we want Isidro Rodriguez and his company to be held responsible,” Villapondo said. “And we also want the Philippine government institutions to be investigated and find out why this Great Provider Services is still operating and still sending teachers abroad even though there’s work waiting for them.”

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  • Kikay Pang0
    19 March 2014 at 9:25 am - Reply

    Another group of illegals seeking sympathy and TPS.

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    24 March 2014 at 7:51 am - Reply

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