In the heart of London, Mary, a devoted caregiver from the Philippines, has become an integral part of a family, nurturing their children and being there for every significant moment. Yet, her own children in the Philippines have grown up without her constant presence. She took on the role of a domestic worker abroad to ensure they received a proper education. Through her sacrifices, her children have now pursued higher education and promising careers.
However, Mary’s journey hasn’t been without challenges. Her stay in the UK is intricately tied to her employment status with the family. As the children grow older and become more independent, Mary’s future in the UK becomes uncertain. If her employment ends, she faces the dilemma of returning to the Philippines or staying illegally in the UK.
Mary’s story mirrors that of countless Filipino workers who venture abroad in search of better opportunities. The Philippines, recognizing the economic benefits, has actively promoted overseas employment. Filipinos can be found in various sectors across the globe, from healthcare to seafaring. Yet, this mass migration often comes at a personal cost. Many face exploitation, with their passports confiscated, salaries withheld, or working conditions deteriorating.
The blurred line between being a recognized overseas Filipino worker and a victim of modern-day slavery is a pressing concern. While the Philippines government lauds these workers as “modern-day heroes” for their economic contributions, the reality many face is far from heroic. The challenges of overseas employment, coupled with potential exploitation, highlight the need for better protection and rights for these workers, ensuring their sacrifices do not go in vain.