By Eimor Santos, CNN Philippines, 10 Oct 2020
Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 10) — The Malaysian employers of a Filipina human trafficking victim have been convicted in court in their homeland, the Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs has announced.
The Sessions Court in Malaysia found the employer couple guilty of violating the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants Act, the DFA announced in a statement on Friday.
The court reversed an initial decision that acquitted the employers and sentenced them to 10 to 12 years of imprisonment. They were also ordered to pay the Filipina victim RM20,000 (equivalent to around ₱232,976) in damages.
“The conviction is a big win for us during this pandemic and is the first victory for a Filipina in Malaysia,” Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Sarah Lou Arriola said in the DFA press statement.
The Filipina, whom the DFA did not name for security reasons, was found by a Filipino couple in an abandoned lot after escaping her employers. She was brought to the Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, launching police investigations and a medico-legal examination, and was later taken to a shelter for human trafficking victims.
The Filipina testified in court about her ordeal. After escaping a rape attempt from her first employer, the Malaysian couple forced her to work in their house. “There she was maltreated and subjected to cruel and abusive acts using a hanger, a flat iron, boiling oil, to name a few,” the DFA said.
The Filipina flew back home to the Philippines in June 2018. She returned to Malaysia in February 2019 to file a civil case against her employers, which remains pending.
There are over 620,000 Filipinos in Malaysia, according to government data. It is the fourth country with the highest number of overseas Filipinos, next to the US, Saudi Arabia, and Canada.