Sharjah reopens battered Filipino maid’s case

The case of battered Filipino maid Marialyn Vinluan took a new twist when immigration officials in Sharjah decided to reopen her case earlier this month to enable her to get justice.

By Lily B. Libo-on

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Published: Fri 24 Sep 2010, 12:34 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 4:43 PM

Marialyn Vinluan, who escaped from her Lebanese lady employer in Ajman on August 9, 2009, had not received any compensation for the torture she endured and the mental and physical scars she still carries.

The issue came to light in May this year when a court in Ajman ordered the employer and her sister to pay the unpaid salary to Vinluan, since the victim had also worked for a month without salary in the household of her employer’s sister.

Vinluan told Khaleej Times that her employer kept on promising to pay her unpaid salary for one year and seven months when she was working as a domestic helper for the family.

She was regularly beaten up if she caused the slightest of displeasure in her lady employer.

From August 9 to 24 last year, Vinluan was hospitalised at Shaikh Khalifa Hospital in Ajman for a broken rib, blurred vision and severe wounds all over her body due to brutal beatings by her employer using iron cords and electrical extension wires until bits of them were embedded in her body, from head to foot.

“I know promises are endless. Finally, I informed Philippine Consul-General Benito B. Valeriano about my decision to go home. Maritess Bautista, a coordinator of the consulate, brought me to the Sharjah Immigration Department to get my work permit cancelled so that I could leave the UAE. To my surprise, immigration officials wanted to arrest me for absconding. My employer in Ajman had reported me to the Sharjah Immigration, which issued my work permit, as an absconder on the same day my agency brought me to Shaikh Khalifa Hospital in Ajman where I had been admitted for 12 days,” Vinluan said.

Bautista, who is assisting distressed Filipino workers in Sharjah, Ajman, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah, told Khaleej Times that the Sharjah Immigration reopened the case as it found out that Vinluan is being forced to go home without receiving any compensation for the physical and mental torture.

Major Ibrahim Hamdan, assistant investigation officer at the Sharjah Immigration, is assisting in the case of Vinluan and in other cases of distressed Filipino helpers in Sharjah.

“All papers for Vinluan’s case are with the Chief Dispute Officer of the Follow-up Section now. Hopefully, the case will be closed soon,” Major Ibrahim said.

Vinluan’s employer and the latter’s sister were arrested the day Vinluan reported to the Sharjah Immigration. They are temporarily released pending hearing after they deposited their passports with the Sharjah Immigration.

Vinluan, who has been under the care of the Philippine Overseas Labour Office-Overseas Workers Welfare Administration of the Philippine Consulate since August 24, 2009, finally received her long-overdue salary of Dh11,800 on May 2. “They gave me a cheque of Dh8,800 and Dh3,000 in cash,” Vinluan said.

Both Vinluan and her former employer were supposed to meet on September 19 at the Follow-up Section but the meeting was rescheduled. “Vinluan is asking for damages of Dh50,000. But, her employer wants to pay only Dh20,000,” Bautista said.

Vinluan told Khaleej Times that she does not want to lower the demand as she has to get further treatment in the Philippines. “I still have pain in the area where my rib was broken and I get black spots around my eyes every now and then,” she said.

After Khaleej Times published reports about Vinluan’s condition, an outpouring of assistance in all forms had come from various sectors in Dubai. Among them were a Palestinian eye specialist, Dr Ali Dabbagh, who offered to treat her blurred vision, and Dr Mohan Rangaswamy, a cosmeticsurgeon at Dubai Welfare Hospital, who volunteered to treat her deep scars after seeing her pictures.

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