A WhatsApp message encouraging foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong to work illegally in Turkey has circulated among the Filipino community recently – sparking concern that more domestic workers will become victims of such frauds.

In August, Jalilo dela Torre, head of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Hong Kong, which aims to protect the labor rights and welfare of Filipinos in the city, suspended two employment agencies due to illegal third-country recruitment, Sunwebhk.com reported.

On November 11, the Philippine government suspended the processing of overseas employment certificates for 15 days in order to investigate the illegal activities of employment agencies in Hong Kong.

Four domestic workers complained that they lost HK$28,000 to HK$40,000 (US$3,589 to $5,126) after being scammed while trying to work abroad. Two went to Russia, one to Brazil, and one to Kazakhstan. When they arrived in the other countries, they discovered that they had to work illegally.

On November 17, Hong Kong police raided three employment agencies in Tsim Sha Tsui, Wan Chai and Kennedy Town for trafficking Filipino domestic workers to other countries such as Russia and Turkey, according to a statement on the Hong Kong government’s website.

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Photo: OFWs in Hongkong

On Saturday, an employment agency sent a WhatsApp message to a domestic worker in Hong Kong. The agency was looking for a business partner in Hong Kong, and asked if there were any Filipino domestic workers who were interested in working in Turkey.

The domestic worker rejected the offer and said she wants to work legally under the supervision of the Philippine government. She posted the WhatsApp message on Facebook to spread awareness to her compatriots regarding such activities.

Netizens commented that Filipino domestic workers in Hong Kong should be vigilant regarding employment scams.

Read: Filipino maids lose thousands in ‘work abroad’ scams in HK

Read: Manila suspends processing of maids’ work certificates