Dead Filipina in freezer spotlights peril of migrant workers

2018-03-03 07:00
Protesters picket the Senate at the start of the probe in the death of an overseas worker in Kuwait in Pasay city, south of Manila, Philippines. (Bullit Marquez, AP, File)

Protesters picket the Senate at the start of the probe in the death of an overseas worker in Kuwait in Pasay city, south of Manila, Philippines. (Bullit Marquez, AP, File)

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Manila – When Joanna Demafelis' indebted family needed money to fix their typhoon-battered home, she followed in the footsteps of millions of other Filipinos and left to find work overseas. And like far too many Filipinos, her journey ended in tragedy.

Demafelis' mutilated body was found last month inside a freezer in an abandoned apartment in Kuwait, where she worked as a housemaid. She had likely been dead for more than a year.

Demafelis' flower-draped coffin sat on Friday in her family home in central Iloilo province, where relatives, who had alerted authorities in 2016 that she was missing, honoured her memory and called for justice.

Her slaying is the latest tragedy to befall an overseas worker from the Philippines, where about a tenth of the nation's 100 million people work abroad.

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