By Balitang America Staff

Filipino domestic helper Rosenda Milla-Bangco Gonzaga is suing her employers Joy Pelayo-McCarthy and husband Chris McCarthy, for alleged human trafficking, forced labor, and false imprisonment.

The complaint alleged that her employers made her work for about 14 hours a day, seven days a week for 11 months without overtime pay.

She only got paid $500 per month.

The complaint also shows that the McCarthy’s took her passport which contains her diplomatic visa and was not allowed to leave the house unsupervised, threatening her with deportation if she did.

Gonzaga escaped in March 2011.

Gonzaga is seeking more than $300,000 dollars in back pay and other damages.

Balitang America is still trying to get a response from her employers.

8 Comments on this post.

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  • Human trafficking charges filed vs newspaper publisher’s family » The FilAm
    10 January 2013 at 8:47 am - Reply

    […] infliction of emotional distress, and wage and labor code violations, the report states. Balitang America is reporting the amount to be […]

  • Human Rights Advocate
    11 January 2013 at 6:06 pm - Reply

    There’s more to here than meets the eye. Why isn’t Emma Yulo included in the Complaint, when she supposedly was the hiring employer of the plaintiff? How did the plaintiff end up with McCathy and Pelayo families? Did money pass between Yulo, on one hand, and the McCarthy/Pelayo families on the other hand? How many more government officials abuse their position by bringing in domestic employees and farming them out to their friends, perhaps for consideration? The Philippine government should motu propio investigate this incident, as it involves a government employee, albeit already retired from the service. I am sure this is not the first time this has happened. Remember the case of Ambassador Baja? Lastly, IF IT IS INDEED TRUE that the McCarthy/Pelayo families paid the plaintiff the measly sum as alleged, and for so many hours per week, and also withheld her passport, then this would be clearly labor trafficking. The Pelayos, as publisher of a newspaper in the NY area, are suppposed to be respectable individuals. Their paper has published other labor trafficking cases in the past, with similar allegations as the Complaint filed against them. And yet, they committed the same trafficking acts? They may not be as respectable as their close friends might think them to be after all, and they certainly do not deserve our respect. I do hope their paper will report this case objectively, and not merely contain their expected denials. I will keep an eye on this case.

    12 January 2013 at 10:44 am - Reply

    I believe before Balitang America or TFC makes a newsflash on this case, there should be the McCarthy’s side of the story. There is no burden of proof that this woman allegedly worked for the McCarthys. The complaint should have been addressed to Emma Ruth Yulo, and from what I understand from my reliable sources, Yulo surrendered the woman’s passport to the Phil. gov’t. because she disappeared and breached her contract, therefore the accusation of taking the woman’s passport is SO UNTRUE!! And I believe that the legal counsel of this woman is exploiting the media without investigating the other side of the coin. Also, Balitang America should have practiced a fair journalistic reporting most especially out of respect to their co-media people, the Filipino Reporter. Balitang America you should have been more respectful than making a newsflash out of a story that is based on accusations and hearsay!

  • Employment Rights Advocate
    13 January 2013 at 11:26 am - Reply

    To comment on Concerned Citizen, let me state this. That a Complaint for human trafficking was filed against the McCarthy and Pelayo spouses is a FACT. I am not writing here to defend TFC or Balitang America. That a Complaint was filed was what they reported. Whether the plaintiff or her lawyer can prove her allegations is another matter. If TFC or Balitang America is into investigative reporting, then they should have done what Concerned Citizen would like them to do: get McCarthy/Pelayo’s side of the story. But I guess they merely reported the fact of the filing of the Complaint. When Defendants McCarthy and Pelayo finally file their Answer or responsive pleading, then that would be the proper time for TFC or Balitang America to report the side of the McCarthy/Pelayo spouses. I am just being objective here, although I must admit I do represent plaintiffs too as an Employment Rights Advocate. Let us wait how objective Filipino Reporter will be in reporting this case, if it ever reports it at all.

    15 January 2013 at 8:38 am - Reply

    In response to the Advocate: That it is also a fact that the defendants are easy target for sensationalizing the complaint by making it a newsflash thus putting the McCarthy’s and the Pelayos’ in a very precarious situation due media blitz about the complaint. People tend to be judgmental you know and I know. I am just merely stating my OPINION. This woman who made allegations is a clear vision of an EXTORTIONIST in my book! I’m just exercising my freedom of speech as I’M A CONCERNED CITIZEN NOT SOMEONE WHO WILL GO TO EXTRA LENGHTS TO EXPLOIT THE LAW & MEDIA just to buy my time to stay in the the UNITED STATES. I’d say DEBUNK THE COMPLAINT!!

  • Mary
    18 January 2013 at 4:45 pm - Reply

    Admin/Reporter Woman – question: How hard did you try to reach the “employers”, you mean the lady (the woman with whom Rosada was contracted to work, the one who paid her? She worked at the Counsel, right?

    I have over 20 years’ extenstive experience with A3 visas whilst dealing with A3 employees in my role as a Legal Administrator for a top-twenty International Law Firm. I could write a book on using an immigrant such as a “Nanny” and/or a “Domestic House Worker” here in the US on an A3, courtesy of the US, only to turn around and claim human trafficking – goal: to obtain permanent US citizenship. Means: Hire a law firm who only cares about their cut.

    I have seen this again & again:

    ” Atty. Tuy emphasized that “some people resort to human trafficking charges as a way to apply for a T visa that would allow them to stay in the country legally.” ”

    Atty. Tuy is absolutely 100% correct in this instance. Rosenda Gonzaga has been promised citizenship in the US by her legal counsel and her legal counsel hope to pocket 30% of whatever settlement they believe Ms. Gonzaga is entitled to. It’s extortion. Rosenda Gonzaga is preying upon innocent “every-day people” (read this to mean all US citizens). Since the incident off the shores of Rockaway Beach, New York where hundreds of stow-aways were trapped from China, the US implemented this Human Trafficing law. Until this suit is settled, the petitioner can legally work in the United States and has most likely been granted temporary citizenship. Hey, she is probably even collecting benefits meant for “legal US Citizens”! As my Dad always said “the truth will come out in the end” and in this matter, I am 100% sure of this.

    Welcome to the New United States of America. Please don’t get me wrong, there are surely cases of human trafficing out there, but THIS ONE is NOT ONE OF THEM. This is an attempt to get money from innocent people BUT for all American’s, it is a false attempt to obtain citizenship (and probably welfare benefits) in our Country. She is therefore taking away from those who really need the help (unable to make a mortgage payment this month? How about groceries?). In the meantime, we are paying to house Ms. Rosenda Gonzaga.

    Very sad state of affairs indeed! Your family is in my prayers. Such upstanding citizens – lives potentially ruined because 1 woman decided to take this course of action instead of returning to her homeland. Ship her home when it’s all over with – I;ll be at the dock/airport waving her goodbye.


  • Mary
    18 January 2013 at 4:58 pm - Reply

    Ha! To Employment Rights Advocate:

    “I am just being objective here, although I must admit I do represent plaintiffs too as an Employment Rights Advocate”

    Spoken by a true advocate? Lawyer perhaps? Your reply is an embarrassment. Do you really think there was an attempt to contact the “employers” (The Lady Who Petitioned for The A3 Visa Application and With Whom The Contract Resides). Ha, at least the Channels I watch here in the US really do try to contact the other party, even Fox!

    Ha! Thanks for the laugh.


  • Mary
    19 January 2013 at 10:21 am - Reply

    Here is the statute:

    The VTVPA The “Obudsman” recommends to the USCIS:

    “1. Expeditiously provide more detailed public guidance on new filing procedures outlined in December 2008 Adjustments Regulations as well as the trafficking reautorization legislation for T & U visa Applications;

    2. Find Alternative for T visa non-immigrant applicants TO OBTAIN WORK AUTORIZATIONS while their applications are pending (thereby taking away work form legal US citizens!).

    3. Expeditiously implement procedures and provide public guidance for U visa non-immigrant to apply for work authorization as outlined in December 2008 Reauthorization legislation.

    4. Provide adequate staff at the T & U visa unit to ensure prompt adjudication of the existing AND ANTICPATED T & U visa applications.

    5. Post processing times for Form I-914 (Application for T Non-Immigrant Status) and FOrm 1-918 (Application for U Non-Immigrant Status).

    Does anyone have an idea of the cost to implement the US personnel to administer this program? Figure close to a billion dollars.

    If it turns out, as it will, that this is a bogus attempt Rosenda Milla-Bangco Gonzaga to illegally gain US Citizenship, she should be made to pay all damages and costs incurred by the US taxpaying public before shipping her home to her country.

    Here is the website for further information:

    I;m going to research “Filing False Human Trafficking Claims” to see if the offending Plantiffs are shipped home and made to pay US damages for wasting US taxpayer money.

    by Plaintiff for obtain legal US citizenship in the US, then the offending party, Ms. Ros