The Den Haag chapter of Migrante-Netherlands held its second general assembly and celebrated its 13th founding anniversary last 20 August in The Hague, The Netherlands. With the theme ‘Migrant workers resist trafficking, abuse, discrimination and all forms of oppression!’ Filipino migrants gathered at the Kurdish Cultural Center in The Hague to look back at more than a decade of struggle for the rights and welfare of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and undocumented migrants.
“They took our passports. We were like their prisoners. I just sleep, wake up, work and then wake up, and work again,” said Corazon Espanto, outgoing chairperson of Migrante Den Haag when she recounted her experience as a victim of human trafficking between 2003 to 2008. In 2004, Cora was joined by her son and daughter working in a Saudi diplomat’s residential house in the Netherlands.
“I thought I was so lucky that I had my children with me. Working together, helping each other. But it’s not, because we worked so hard. I start work at 5:30 in the morning and would stop working at 2:30 the next morning,” Espanto recalled.
Espanto, together with her son and daughter escaped in July 2008 with the help of other Filipino migrants. Soon after, the Den Haag chapter of Migrante Netherlands was established with Espanto being elected as its founding chairperson.
“After we escaped, I was hiding because I was afraid if my former employer found out. Migrante was the one who helped me tell my story. I appreciate what they did to my family. So now, I am doing it for other victims of human trafficking,” she added.
The chapter reviewed major campaigns it has worked on in the past including the rescue of Filipina human trafficking victims, au pairs, and other undocumented Filipinos as well as the campaign against the Philippine government’s Labor Export Policy and urgent relief operations during the pandemic.
The assembly also reaffirmed the unity of members to fight modern-day slavery and elected a new set of officers.