Manila, Philippines – Kuwaiti authorities have started their search for the employers of the Filipino household worker whose body was found in a freezer in Kuwait this week, a Foreign Affairs official said Friday.
Raul Dado, executive director of the Office of Migrant Workers Affairs, said Kuwaiti law enforcers were ready to arrest the suspects, who fled to Lebanon two years ago.
Dado said an investigation for homicide had been filed with the Prosecutors of Maidan Hawally in Kuwait against Lebanese Nader Assaf and his Syrian wife, employers of Joanna Daniella Demafelis.
“Kuwait authorities are searching for the couple in Lebanon to arrest them with the help of Interpol,” Dado said.
The body of Demafelis, 30, is presumed to have been in the freezer for more than a year since her Lebanese employers left Kuwait in November 2016.
Dado said the Philippine embassy immediately sent a diplomatic note to the Kuwaiti Ministry of Foreign Affairs as regards the case.
Lawyers hired by the Philippines have been briefed on the necessary legal action against the employers and other involved parties.
“Embassy officials are also meeting police and forensics to get the results of the investigation immediately,” Dado said.
“A new meeting with the highest officials of the Kuwait forensics department will be held this weekend,” he added.
The embassy, he added, is also in touch with Demafelis’s local recruitment agency – Our Lady of Mt Carmel Global E-Human Resources Inc. and her Kuwait recruiter – Fadilah Farz Kaued Al Khodor Recruitment Agency.
Kuwait is a major labor destination for Filipinos in the Middle East, with over 250,000 currently working there, mostly as domestic helpers.
Over the years ill-treatment and physical abuse have been rampantly committed against Filipino workers in the Gulf state, forcing Manila to suspended the deployment of workers in January.
While the country’s labor policy towards Kuwait is under review, the Philippines has sought a bilateral agreement with Kuwait that will ensure additional protection for Filipino workers.
The Philippines is among the world’s biggest exporters of labor, including household workers. Their remittances keep the Philippine economy afloat as they send over $2 billion annually.