Trafficking fears raised over Filipino workers ban

| 04/11/2011

(CNS): The Philippines government has stated that it will stop processing of new workers to the banned 41 countries including Cayman by the middle of November, but a member of government there has warned of an increase in human trafficking cases as a result of the decision according to the Philippines media. On Wednesday The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) adopted a recommendation of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to stop the deployment of Filipino migrant workers to countries that lack laws to protect their rights but there are now concerns that it could but workers at greater risk.

“Should this go on for a long term, I foresee that we shall have a drastic rise in human trafficking because the demand for Filipino labour is dictated by market forces,” Ako Bicol party-list Representative Rodel Batocabe told Manila’s Sun Star. Batocabe said the government should have categorized the countries that lack protective measures for migrant Filipino workers first instead of immediately banning the deployment to these countries. Only those with serious violations should be banned, he said.

“This is a very drastic move by our government but I would like to believe that this is just on a short-term basis designed to strengthen the leverage of our government in negotiating for better terms and security for our workers in these countries,” Batocabe said.

However government has said it is already looking into treaties with governments of the countries affected

"We are not shutting the door to any host country but paving the way to reach a bilateral agreement and strengthening the diplomatic ties between the Philippines and the host countries. We do not want to antagonize them," DFA Ambassador Vic Lecaros said.
Despite the ban,OFWs will still be allowed to apply to countries with companies and contractors with international operations as provided by the Amended Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995 which includes the Cayman Islands.

CNS has contacted the CI government to comment on the situation and to establish if a treaty will be signed in order that workers who are here will be able to renew contracts legal and whether local employers can continue to recruit from the Philippines and is awaiting a response. There are estimated to be more than 2500 Filipino workers on permits and the workers comprise the second largest group of foreign national migrant works after Jamaicans.

Check CNSBusiness on Monday for more on the ban and its impact on local business

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Comments (30)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    "I do personally rely on the filipino workers but I have already looked into importing from Indonesia.  From the skype interviews, this might be the next best bet!  I really like Korean food so many I'll hire a few from there also!"

    "Employers have time to look for new workers.  So start looking in China, Vietnam, Indonesia etc"

    These comments are typical of the slave trades.

    • Anonymous says:

      Don't be ignorant. Employers will obviously need to look elsewhere if Filipinos are banned from working in Cayman. It's that simple.

      • Anonymous says:

        You only look elsewhere because you want to greedily keep all the money and you do not want to pay a living wage to the workers.If you paid a living wage then you could find Caymanians to fill the positions.

        • Anonymous says:

          I don't know why you have tried personalise this. I don't hire any Filipinos and those that I do hire are paid a fare wage. If they don't get paid a living wage why do they accept the job?

          Fillipinos do jobs that Caymanians won't. The wage doesn't matter.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The proof that this blacklist has ulterior motives and is not really about protecting Filipinos Working Abroad from abuse is that countries where serious abuse has been reported are not even on this list:


    Saudi Arabia


    Abu Dhabi


    Apparently these are larger markets from Filipino workers and the Philippine govt. believes it has the power to make demands from countries who employ FEWER Filipinos while at the same time causing harm to their reputations feeling that it has less to lose. Logically if this were about protection of Filipinos from abuse, the major markets with the worst abuse should have been at top of the list. This is rank hypocrisy and should be exposed as such.     

  3. WREX says:


    I lived in Cuba for some years, and this regulation is 100% communist.  The government should advise them of whatever findings they have regarding abuse in the Cayman Islands or any other country, but the people should be able to travel wherever they feel like.


    I'm not saying there isn't abuse here, but it is across the board, not only with Filipinos; the problem is not the "people of the Cayman Islands" it is with some employers that should be investigated and dealt with, and they are not all from Cayman or even grown up in Cayman, they just got papers but still have their previous mentality.


    These waivers employers come up with to bypass labor regulations, should be handled as criminal offenses, this shows that employers plan to exploit their employees and on top of that, they intend to break the labor law.


    If these employers get convicted, the authorities could impose a ban on them hiring for an x amount of years, depending on each individual case but having said that, it seems you can run somebody over with a trailer and get away with it.

  4. Anonymous says:


    Some commenters have exactly the same attitude as Alabama plantation owners in the '50's.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I do personally rely on the filipino workers but I have already looked into importing from Indonesia.  From the skype interviews, this might be the next best bet!  I really like Korean food so many I'll hire a few from there also!

    Cayman did not impose this ban the Philippine govt did.  The filipinos should talk to their own govt by telling them they are violating their rights.  Eh Who cares, there is always a loophole.  We will probably see a lot of marriages now, not necessarily to locals, but to anybody just so they don't go home.  

  6. Uhmmm says:

    Let them go home.  We can always import any other east asian labour. It is not an immediate departure.  Employers have time to look for new workers.  So start looking in China, Vietnam, Indonesia etc.  The ones working for international companies should probably not be granted work permits either.  Have them ready to go also and enforce that the company replace them with a Caymanian.  Isn't that the purpose anyway?  Cayman has relied on one country for too long to import labour.  It is time to wake up and diversify. 

    BTW why is it predominately East Asian Labour?  Why not South Asian? Or What happened to Eastern Europe and the Latin American countries? There is a big world out there.


  7. Naya Boy says:

    We did not bring them here, only this bunch of cheap loving and unsrupulous employers we have around this place if ill treatment  is happening no one is holding them here against their will. Cayman this is only the begining of the problems we are going to have. Wait until these Human Right  rules from the UK get implemented  Our children are going to pay the awful price for these terrible political decisions of  the sucessive governments we keep electing who same to think that  playing this double game of  talking the Cayman talk when Caymanians are around and doing otherwise when they have to appease their foreign masters is always going to be the path to wealth and popularity in our society. My question is who will Caymanians complain to about their rights that are now slowly being eroded and taken away. I hope this situation stands as a wake up call for all Caymanians Who will now realise or see the bigger picture of exactly what certain elements for example  how our now Foreign run Police service who is using the escalation of  Crime & alledged corruption to create more laws to take away our rights and  freedom and  tranforming our society to please them.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Shame to see them go.  They are polite, unagressive, good workers, do not get involved in crimimal activities and respect Caymanians and their host country, unlike some other nationalities I could name.   

  9. Anonymous says:

    Since the Cayman Islands is an overseas territory of the UK should not the Philippine government also add the UK to their list?

    Im sure that any agreement the Cayman Islands has to sign would have to be ratified by the UK as in most other bi-lateral agreements.

    • Anonymous says:

      The UK provide much better protection and human rights to their workers. Cayman is in a category by itself

  10. Anonymous says:

    I love the Filipino's.  I even married one!  BUT – no one forced them to come here.  Filipino's you must look at this as an infringement of YOUR rights to leave your country and work anywhere you want.  The best your government can do is advise you.  To force it through a ban is an ABUSE of your rights and your OWN right to PROTECT yourself.  I have seen lots of Filipino's work here (even on minimum wage) return home to build a house of their own.  Lots of children and parents benefitting from the money you send home.

    The Cayman Islands does not forbid the sending of currency out of the country like some do.

    If you are being abused you have as much right as anyone else here.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Wow it is about time someone defend their people.

    The Jamaican Government also needs do this. Maybe some expats will be treated with respect, there is a constant battle with the (JAMAICAN) people here in Cayman they are used and abused all the time. I know people that work here for months and have no pay to look forward to and some are even forced to have sex with their bosses, if not they don't get paid and what is worst they turn down their permits and get them deported.

    There is such a thing called Human Rights but the Cayman Islands people including he IMMIGRATION DEPT. don't know the meaning of it. Also we have here in the Cayman Islands, Jamaican bosses with status who also mistreats their own people. it is a big disgrace!

    Not because a person comes form a country poor and looking a better life that gives anyone the right to abuse them.

    If you work a person he or she is to be paid, last week was a great example, the Caymanian man one of our own people on the rooftop of the school at Bodden Town because he wanted to be paid for his work. I have friends from Jamaica that left Cayman and did not get the money that they worked so hard for. Let me add more salt to the cut, the Employers their there money for pension and insurance from these people were never covered. The labor aw is a very poor example they complain to the labor dept. and nothing is ever done. The Bible states that by the sweat of a man's brow he shall eat bread. People come on treat the people fairly and pay them.What you dont want for yourselves don't do to others. These people have families just like us that needs to be fed. There is a saying and a warning. You sow wickedly you shall reep your rewards! And by the way, yes I am a Caymanian by birth!

    Look around you Cayman! Lots of shops can't make a dollar! Lots of rent houses/shacks and apartments empty! Because the Jamaicans you cursed and sow hatred towards on the Marlroad and on the Talk Stations, their bread you can't get anymore because you mistreated them and drove them away! Your own Caymanian won't rent them or shop at your shops. Supermarkets you're suffering too cause the Jamaican money spenders are gone! Prejudice in alls its Filthy form run rampant in this here Cayman Islands and those of you who are guilty of it will soon reap, or already reaping what you sowed.

    Talk about Karma!

    • The Prophet says:

      Yes I do agree I hope the Jamaican Government do the same thing.   I do not feel sympathy Cayman Islands Government.  PPM and UDP and Independent,  none of them are looking out for the people of Cayman.  I hope the foreign governments make the Cayman Islands pay for each expatriate they have here, yes just like in Cuba.  The Government needs to be forced to pay the phillipines and Jamaican, Govt then they will appreciate the people here.

      • Uhmmm says:

        No one forced either of them to come here and OMG you have to be kidding me.  Jamaicans aren't exactly the most liked nationality.  So having to pay to have them here would eliminate their existence here completely. 

        Needless to say I do not want either nationality to go away.  I love them both.  The Philippines enacted this based on someone or some people making a complaint. You can't make everyone happy.  That is up to the Philippine govt.  Cayman has the rest of the world to choose from to import labour.  It seems with Macs continual talks with the chinese that is the route Cayman will be taking. 

        If Cayman is able to supplement the workforce with others.  Then it would show that Cayman doesn't need the Philippine workers as much as the Philippine workers need Cayman.  It isn't that many Filipinos inCayman anyway and they aren't leaving all at once.  The nanny situation can be replaced with Latin American nannies, or Chinese, or Jamaican nannies.  I prefer my child to learn chinese or spanish any day.  It would help my child in the long term.  So this may actually prove to be better for the island. 

        Thank you Philippine govt. I bet the Jamaican workers are saying so,  they can move back in the territory the Philippine workers pushed them out of. 

      • Anonymous says:

        The issue is not about feeling symopathy for the govt. you d*mb*ss. This is damaging the reputation of our country and the Philippine govt. has not given any explanation.

        Jamaican helpers are treated better in Cayman than they are in Jamaica.  

    • Anonymous says:

      Well I sincerely hope you reported the atrocities you speak of to the police, otherwise you are no better than the ones you accuse.

  12. Born n Breed Caymanian says:

    Thanks because the Pinoy regime is smarter than our goverment ( “Premier”), we would then have 0% unemployment, if only our government would look out for OUR people like theirs does. But you know what “That’s just what we GET”. Anything that comes here we feeds them wid they starve gut selves but like BOB Said “feed mauga dawg n he turn bk n bite” take that Mac!

  13. Anonymous says:

    I know lots of Filipino's here in Cayman; How exactly are their rights being violated here?

    I don't see an issue in this country.

    • Maria Agwanta says:

      I can name a certain business establishment – but I won't because then CNS will not post this comment (;-),  where a number of Filipinos work and if one of those Filipinos is your friend,  confirm this fact with him:  by Cayman Labor Law,  working overtime gives you time and a half rate rate, right?  Ask them if any is given and they'll tell you none.  Working on your day off (if asked) is 2x your rate, right?  Ask if they're even paid.  Now ask your Filipino friends if any ever complained – (they might discuss it among themselves, yes) but it won't ever go to Labor – because they had been made to sign a waiver and because they  know and accept it as fact that receiving your normal rate even on overtime and day-off is far better than not going to work and receiving nada, right?

      Ask your Filipino friends too, especially the Hosekeepers/Nannies/Domestic Helpers/Caregivers/Gardeners, if all or most of them are covered by Medical Insurance or are their pensions paid regularly, if at all.  Some of the lucky ones who are employed by decent employers may be covered, true and good for them.

      You don't need to ask the Filipinos who are working for global companies,  KPMG, Earnst & Young, (for example) or McAlpine because these companies are operating on International Labor Law Standards.  So that's why they are exempted from the ban,  because they already provide more thanwhat is asked for.

      Filipinos come here to work, t hey arrived with proper documents, signed sealed and delivered, Mondays thru Saturdays and sometimes Sundays and Holidays, from sun-up to sundown,  they give it their best.  Come rest days,  they have fun with their tribes, groups or clans, singing and dancing and talking among each other, laughing.  But they never give anyone any trouble.  They pay their bills,  CUC, Water Authority, house rentals, pay for gas, buy food at the supermarkets, go to cinemas or restaurants,  those who do not have their own cars travel by bus  (all these go back to Cayman's economy) and the little that is left they send to their family back home.  Makes me wonder how some can say, spend nothing here and send ALL their money to their home country -even Western Union or Moneygram shares in these –  hello!!! Show me a free house, free food, free transportation and free utilities, and I don't think only Filipinos would grab that!




      • Anonymous says:

        I'm a Caymanian and was employed under similar conditions.  One day off a week and no compensation until 45 hours had been worked.  Compensation by the way does not mean money, it can also mean time off.  When I checked with the labour law it was apparently all above board.

        Your employer can also switch your day off to any he or she chooses.

        So please, it is not just Filipono's that are affected.  For the record, I am fine with Filipino's too and prefer them over any other labour nationality, but their own government treats them badly.  I have spent time in the Philippines, I have seen the brutal police, the poverty, the gun crime, the corruption.  For their own government to restrict their movements to better themselves is also an abuse of human rights far worse that what they are accusiing us of.

        • Uhmmm says:

          I too am Caymanian and have never received overtime.  Overtime is for people paid per hour and not for people on salary.  Like the poster said, if you are compensated in other ways such as time off then it is equivalent.  REALLY  if you don't like it go somewhere else.  There are many other countries in the world.  I don't see the need for all this nonsense.  If I wanted to get all those so called benefits of having overtime and workers compensation, unemployment benefits etc. then I would be working in a country that has taxes which would pay those things.  Then my actually take home money would be less. 

          Working on  a salary basis, means I am guaranteed my stated salary.  Working per hour means that if the employer decides to cut my hours I only get paid, the hours worked.  Maybe that employer will start cutting those people's hours.  I bet there will be more complaining then. 

          To the ones that have complained.  Go home where you won't get paid anything near what you are getting now or go somewhere else.  Actually you don't have a choice, your government decided for you.  For the ones that want to stay, I bet you would like to curse all the idiots that complained and affected you. 

          Some people don't realise that you really get what you wish for. 

  14. Rachel Dequito-Gepolla says:

    The way I see it…

    By proclaiming the ban first –  they had already closed the door and in so doing antagonized host countries and putting job opportunities at risk for OFWs.

    The way I see it….

    What they should have done first was to communicate or coordinate with host countries,  put their program or policy on the table for discussion or negotiation and then move on from there.

    The way I see it…

    They could also have coordinated or communicated with the Philippine Embassies responsible or has  these countries under their jurisdiction thru their designated Consuls to pave the way for negotiations

    Sadly,  THEY did not see it that way, too..

    The way I see it…

    Our Honorary Consul was caught unaware, blindsided and shocked when he  read it  from the front page of Caymanian Compass (info gleaned from Pinoys in Cayman).

    So now I see and hear panic reactions from those who are having their vacations at this time and cannot return; disappointment from those who were hoping to put in a new application when the suspension from rollover became a law, hopeful that their stay over is shorter than a year.    what a mess!

  15. Anonymous says:

    'We do not want to antagonise them but we have put them on a blacklist alongside countries like Afghanistan without any attempt to speak with their govts about our concerns first'. What planet are these people on?!. Why should Cayman enter into some bilateral agreement to give Filipino workers preferential treatment over other workers? Obviously there would be a firestorm from Jamaicans. Cayman should treat their list with the contempt it deserves and seek workers elsewhere.      

    • The Prophet says:

      08:29 I agree with you.   I hope a war breaks out.  Yes all those Caymanians and foreigners who want slave labour is disgusting.  Women who have husbands who have a good job and money, una willneed to go shopping for a Collin.   Hahahaha, heheheh.

  16. Stuck in traffic says:

    And there was me thinking that this would serve to reduce traffic and ease my morning commute.