Damayan and Philippine Consulate General of New York Sign Mou



After more than four years of organizing and negotiating, the Philippine Consulate General of New York signed the landmark Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Damayan to combat the labor trafficking and modern day slavery of Filipino nationals in New York. The MOU was signed on October 2nd, 2017  by the Philippine Consulate with representatives from both parties. 

The MOU will pave for the creation of the Anti-Trafficking Working Group (ATWG) that will be composed of representatives from Damayan and the Consulate. The ATWG will serve as a structure for joint planning, deliverables, and guidelines to implement the agreements and commitments of both the Consulate and Damayan.

Damayan has been advocating for the MOU since 2013, and this victory is the result of the hard work and determination of Filipino labor trafficking survivors, Damayan organizers and leaders, and allies. 

To see video of the signing, CLICK HERE

Don Tagala of Balitang America reports about the landmark victory for Damayan and Filipino trafficking survivors.

“After four years of persistence and negotiations, Damayan Migrant Workers Association finally got what it has been fighting for – a memorandum of (understanding) with the Philippine Consulate General in New York that details the protocols and resources for Filipino trafficking survivors.”

To read the Balitang America article, Damayan Migrant Workers Association Memorandum Pushes Aid for Filipino Human Trafficking Survivors, CLICK HERE

Leah Obias, former Damayan Organizer, on the signing the MOU: 

“Hey everybody, my name is Leah, Im here with Damayan Migrant Workers Association. I am a former staff member at Damayan. I am here to celebrate with Damayan for this historic moment which is the signing of the agreement between the Philippine Consulate and Damayan Migrant Workers Association to ensure that there are rights and protections for Philipino migrant workers, in particular trafficked workers. This is the end of a five year campaign, or I should say not the end, but the beginning of the next stage of this long anti-trafficking campaign, BAKLAS, which means ‘Break Free.’ Damayan has been working on this campaign for several years already. This is a historic and monumental first step where the Philippine Consulate and the Philippine government has recognized the force of migrant workers and recognized the power and the legitimacy of Damayan to represent the workers. The first agreement of it’s time between a foreign government and a workers center, so this is really setting a precedent across the country and across the world, it is enormous that this has happened. This is by the workers, this was created by groups of workers who came together and said, these are the conditions that we are facing, this is what we need from our consulate, these are the services and protections we that we need. We need the Philippine Consulate to be accountable, we need them to be available, we need them to provide resources. Through the power of the workers getting together and demanding what they needed and what they wanted from the Philippine Consulate, allies, getting out into the streets demanding that this be signed. Countless times we were singing in the streets, doing street theater, conducting rallies and chanting, “We’ll be back!” Here we are back today to actually sign this MOU, which just happened a couple of minutes ago, with workers, surrounding the consul general and Damayan officials, so I’m proud to be here, I’m proud to say congratulations to Damayan, the workers and all of the allies who helped make this happen. I am so happy to have been here, to have been part of it, to have contributed in whatever small way I could to this campaign and congratulations to all of the migrant workers and Damayan for this historic event.”

Watch Leah’s Interview HERE.