Last year politician and TV host Salwa Al Mutairi, wanted the Kuwaiti state to allow men to hold sex slaves.
Kuwait Times, Thursday October 31, 2013
Sex Slaves recount months of bondage – Runaway Filipinas forced to serve 30 customers a day
Lorna, Felly and Rowena never stopped believing that the day would come when their sex slavery ends and they will be released from physical abuse, suicidal thoughts and “taking care of” 30 customers a day.
The three-month entrapment started when the three Filipina domestic workers ran away from their kafeels, two of them trusting a fellow Filipina, who sold Loran and Felly to a Pakistani pimp who in turn locked them in a flat in Jleeb Al-Shoyoukh and asked them to “take care of 30 customers per day”. Rowena was taken to the brothel after the Pakistani driver of the taxi she flagged on the road called the pimp in Jleeb and dropped her straight to him. Rowena wanted to get to the embassy to escape abuse from her male employer.
The Pakistani pimp preyed on the women by exploiting their fear that they were runaway maids and that death for the three meant leaving their children in the Philippines orphans and without any financial support. Baited by promises of jobs in a mall in Kuwait, the three women believed their compatriot and instead of landing their dream jobs as salesladies, they were locked in a brothel in Jleeb. The three women were captives to the pimp and a whole gang including their female Sri Lankan madam.
Incarcerated and abused
The flat in Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh was worse than a jail for these three women who say that there are other girls trapped in Kuwait going through the same frightening experience – no hygiene coupled with physical and mental abuse. After running away, the three women who while talking with this reporter looked terrified and emotionally unstable, described days and nights of nightmarish existence during their captivity ordeal.
The trust factor
Lorna, 26, from Sultan Kudarat in southern Philippines said she felt encouraged to leave her sponsor because the recruiter was a Filipina. “I was very tired of working as a domestic helper. So, I did not feel fear at all,” she said, recalling that she left her sponsor’s house on June 19, 2012.” Lorna said her friend convinced her to leave. “When she called me, she said that there was a better job waiting for me. I believed her and I got into a car provided by her,” she said. The car took her to Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh. Ironically calling it a safe house, the girl said she met two other Filipinas there. “At first we were all excited. The next day, another Filipina joined us. So the fear subsided especially when they told us we’ll all be okay. The whole night we were talking about our plans and dreams. We even celebrated that night,” she said holding tightly to her scarf that was flowing loosely above her trembling lips that could hardly mutter a word.
But their joy was short-lived. Their Filipina friend who had recruited them disappeared in the night. The next day each of them were called by a Pakistani handler who explained to them the real nature of their job. “I was shocked and protested sharply. But the beating and torturing started. They said I only have three choices – to be sold to another pimp, to be killed or to stay and follow their orders.” The Pakistani handler told us that this was our job since we were all sold to them for KD 350 each by our Pinay friend. “I was very angry because of all the people we trusted, she betrayed us. Before she left that night, she told us she’ll be gone for a while to process our documents for our new job in the mall. But she never returned,” she said.
Since she had no choice, Lorna was then brought to another flat in Jleeb to work as a sex slave. She never got any money for her 10-hour workday. “I told the Pakistani handler that I don’t need the job. He was furious and started beating me. I was hit with a metal bar on my backside. He told me that if I do not do as he said, they’ll kill me. At that time I just wanted to live for my two kids. So I agreed. I was locked inside a room they took my cellphone away and I was totally blocked out.”
Her first work day commenced on the following day. Customers waited in a line, literally. “I had about 30 customers a day, and on slow days, I would have 20. They were mostly Bangladeshis and Indians. I was told by customers that they were paying KD 8-10. But I did not receive a single fils,” she said, adding that the money went to the Pakistani handler. “I endured the pain because I wanted to live for my kids,” she cried.
Lorna was enraged at her Filipina recruiter whom she thought was a friend. “I kept on praying to God everyday to help us. I had lost hope, but my faith was telling me to continue fighting. I was crying daily,” she said. The blessed day finally came when she and another sex slave managed to escape.
The Sri Lankan madam who was watching them at that time had an argument with her boyfriend inside the kitchen. “She forgot the key in the main door so we were able to escape and locked them inside the house and immediately proceeded to the embassy,” she recalled. “We asked the help of the embassy officers to save the rest of the Filipinas in the brothel. The good thing is that they rescued two of them, but I know there are three more Filipinas who are held captive at another place.”
The three women hope that there will be payback for their Filipina compatriot who made them endure all the suffering. “I want the Filipina pimp and the Pakistani handler to be prosecuted. I know the Filipina is still operating and recruiting other Filipinas through Facebook. If I see them, I don’t know what I will do to them. They destroyed my life, my dreams, my family and my whole life. I will never forgive them till justice is served – let them pay for this. I hope she’ll experience the same hell that we lived,” she raged.
Felly, 32, from Saranggani, Philippines, shares the same story. Felly, who worked with the Filipina pimp, was first recruited as a mall saleslady. “I was working with her for the same sponsor. After she left, we stayed in touch,” Felly says. She told the Filipina brokered ‘the job’ for a cashier in a mall. She accompanied Felly to the ‘safe house’ where two Pakistanis were holding other Filipinas. “We went to the place together. At that time I needed money because my father was very sick and I had many financial obligations. So when I heard about this good opportunity, I grabbed it. I ran away from my sponsor on June 4, 2013. I was happy at that time because I saw two more of my friends there,” she recalled. “It was just the four of us there,” she said.
Her happiness quickly turned into fear when the Pakistani interviewer in the “safe house” asked her to remove her clothes. “I was shocked and asked why? He then said my job will be to entertain men. I was shocked to hear that I was going to be a prostitute, so I protested. Then the beating started. I was slapped a million times. I wanted to leave, but they said I will die before I leave the place,” she said. Her new “job” started immediately and till the day she managed to run away, she had no time off or any money.
“The men were paying KD 8-10 to the Pakistani pimp. I never got anything,” she said through sobs. “I want the Filipina to pay for what she did to us. I want her arrested and incarcerated. My dreams are shattered because of her,” she cried. “My message to all Filipinas in Kuwait is no matter what anyone tells you to convince you to leave your kafeel’s house, do not listen. You will only have two choices – either you’ll be killed or become a sex slave like us,” she warned.
Rowena, 26, from Quezon City, Philippines, was also held captive in the same brothel. She was there since Dec 2012 until she was rescued in Aug 2013. She left her sponsor because the male sponsor had attempted to rape her three times. “The last time he tried to rape me, I ran away and called my recruitment agency. They told me to go to their office. But the taxi driver who was supposed to take me to the agency sold me to a Pakistani pimp in Jleeb. I had flagged the taxi on the highway. The taxi driver was a Pakistani too. He called somebody, then brought me to Jleeb,” she said.
When she arrived, there were three other Filipinas. “After a few days, the Pakistani talked to me and told me about the nature of my job. I wanted to escape. I pleaded to be spared but they wouldn’t listen. They tortured me and beat me hard. They said if I do not work for them as a prostitute, I will be sold to other pimps or they’ll kill me,” she said, still shaking recalling the threats of the man. “I did not want to be killed for my only son, so I worked for them. Before they sent me any customers, they raped me first,” she said. “Even when I was bleeding, I was forced to work. I rested one month because I kept on bleeding,” she recounted.
For all the months of captivity, Rowena was once given KD 50 which she urgently needed to send to her family for the funeral of a family member. “They were using me every day. I used to get up to 30 customers a day. I never received any money,” Rowena cried.
By Ben Garcia