‘ FLORIDA 15’ ASKS PUBLIC’S HELP TO CAPTURE FORMER RECRUITER

By Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

February 25, 2013

NEW YORK – The Florida 15’s quest for justice is not over. Their legal counsel, Attorney Felix Vinluan says they are now aggressively on a manhunt for their former employer, the owner of the San Villa Ship Management whom he said is hiding in the Philippines.

Vinluan called on the public to report the whereabouts of Jose a.k.a. Jojo Villanueva.

Villanueva was last seen in Olongapo in the Philippines.

The group filed a case against San Villa Ship Management owner Jojo Villanueva, accusing him of human trafficking and unfair labor practices.

Ten of them have received their approved T-visas and employment authorization cards.

One of the alleged victims, Cecile Delgado said, “We also got our work permit that says we can work legally.”

Two of them, including Annabelle Sibayan received their work visas but their T-visas are still pending due to existing deportation proceedings.
Sibayan was picked up by immigration agents when she visited her sister aboard a cruise ship in Miami, Florida a few years ago.

The remaining three of the Florida 15 are now working on their T-Visa applications.

Meantime, Democratic U.S. Congressman John Lewis of Georgia said that human trafficking needs to be part of the immigration reform debate.

Lewis said, “I think the Congress and I think the President and all of us must take the lead, take the initiative in seeing that the Filipinos get justice. We put an end to human trafficking in abusing the rights of people. That is a basic human right that must be attended to and not denied.”

Contact Don Tagala at don_tagala@abs-cbn.com for more information.

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