The Philippine Embassy in Kuwait has recently issued an advisory on a missing Filipina domestic helper, Ronalyn Yonting Lawagan, who had absconded from her employer back in February 2017. Her family had also lost contact with her since then, as shared in a report by the Kuwait Times.
A representative from the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait’s Assistance to Nationals department, who requested to remain anonymous, had confirmed Lawagan’s absence. The source also shared that the embassy has already been coordinating with local authorities to determine the Filipina’s whereabouts and gather reports of her state as requested by her family back in the Philippines.
Filipina Domestic Helper in Kuwait Goes Missing for over a Year
At present, the Embassy in Kuwait had also launched a social media appeal to seek assistance and information on Ronalyn’s whereabouts.
With Ronalyn’s case brought to national attention, issues on human trafficking and cases of domestic helpers who abscond from their employers are once again brought into light. Reports connect such cases to getting trapped or somehow getting involved in prostitution rings or other illicit activities.
Oftentimes, people who become trapped in either situation are held against their will or have chosen to go into hiding which explains the reason for the inability to communicate with family or relatives, and to reach out to authorities for a long period of time.
There have also been cases where criminals lure (absconding) domestic helpers with the promise of a better job or better pay, or by means of befriending them and then later on convincing them to run away from their employers or sponsors.
According to the Human Rights Watch, there are more than 660,000 domestic workers in Kuwait, which has a population of only over 4 million in total. The rights group has gathered documented cases of abuse among domestic helpers, which include confiscation of passports, forceful labour without rest or a weekly day-off, forbidding them from leaving their sponsor’s house, and in some instances physical, verbal, and sexual assaults have also been noted. On top of these findings, there has been a steady rate of suicide cases and deaths in this population noted in the Gulf state every year.
Anyone who may hold valuable information on the whereabouts of Ronalyn is advised to immediately contact local authorities or the Philippine Embassy hotline at 65002612.
Such kinds of news cause immediate alarm among the Filipinos because it hasn’t been too long since a similar case had surfaced nationally. The incident had nearly cut diplomatic ties with Kuwait because of the unwarranted murder of an innocent victim of abuse in the hands of her foreign employers.