Kuwait arrests 2 Filipinos for 'convincing' distressed maids escape

Kuwait arrests 2 Filipinos for 'convincing' distressed maids escape
Kuwaiti authorities arrest two Filipino nationals amid renewed tensions between the Gulf state and the Philippines.
2 min read
23 April, 2018
A video appeared on social media showing Filipino staff assisting maid escapes [screengrab]
Two Filipino citizens have been arrested in Kuwait for allegedly assisting domestic workers in escaping their employers' homes, authorities said on Sunday. 

The arrests come amid deteriorating relations between Kuwait and the Philippines, which has around 252,000 expat workers in the Gulf state.

According to Kuwait's official KUNA news agency, the two suspects did not deny that they had convinced the maid to run away. The agency said that the men "confessed to the crime in addition to other similar offences that had been committed in various regions of the country."

On Friday, Filipino ambassador Renato Villa summoned by Kuwait's foreign ministry and handed two protest notes after a video emerged showing diplomatic staff helping Filipina domestic workers escape.

Villa was reported to have claimed that the Philippines would act independently to help abused workers if Kuwait failed to do so.

He later denied making the remarks, saying that "all our efforts to assist our nationals here in Kuwait would not be possible without the support of the Kuwaiti government."

Relations between Kuwait and the Philippines took a turn for the worse earlier this year when the body of 29-year-old Filipina worker Joanna Demafelis was discovered in a freezer in Kuwait.

In the wake of the Demafelis murder, Manila has been working to facilitate the return of its nationals who wish to leave, including those who have lost their residency status.