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Thu 16 Jan 2020 11:08 AM

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Philippines issues total ban on sending workers to Kuwait

Move follows the killing and abuse of a Filipina maid last month

Philippines issues total ban on sending workers to Kuwait

There are currently around 200,000 Filipinos living in Kuwait. Image: AFP/Getty Images

The Philippines has imposed a total ban on citizens being sent to Kuwait to work following the latest autopsy results on a deceased Filipino maid, which found she was beaten to death and sexually abused.

On Sunday, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said a report by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on the body of Jeanelyn Villavende, a maid who lived in Kuwait, found she had been beaten to death by her Kuwait employer and also showed sign of sexual abuse, the state-backed Philippine News Agency (PNA) reported this week.

Villavende's employer and wife remain in jail in Kuwait, but the incident led to a backlash in the Philippines.

While President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday said he had been satisfied with Kuwait’s swift response to the Villavende case, he believed there was no need to impose a ban on workers travelling to the Gulf state for employment.

However, on Wednesday the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) issued a statement that from January 16 they were “imposing a total ban on the processing and deployment of domestic workers or household service workers, semi-skilled workers and professionals, including crew changes and shore leaves of Filipino seafarers in Kuwait”.

There are currently around 200,000 Filipinos living in Kuwait.

Kuwait and the Philippines in May 2018 signed an agreement to regulate domestic workers, after a dispute between the two countries led to a ban on Filipino workers in the Gulf state.

In February 2018, President Rodrigo Duterte imposed a partial ban on workers travelling to Kuwait after a Filipina maid was murdered and her body found in a freezer.

Kuwaiti recruitment firms on Monday also said they are struggling to find domestic helpers after recruitment from the Philippines was suspended earlier this year.

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