Massage therapists take on dodgy boss

Massage therapists take on dodgy boss

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Delo first met Colin Elvin back in the Philippines, when he came in for a massage. He had a massage therapy clinic in Australia, Canberra Foot and Thai, and he was there to offer sponsorship to Delo and some of her other colleagues. Many of the women,  including Delo, leapt at the opportunity to earn better incomes for their families.

(Filipino version below)

When Delo and the other Filipino massage therapists first arrived in Canberra, they were driven to a house for six days of training. None of them were allowed outside - not even into the backyard. They started at Canberra Foot and Thai the following week, working twelve hour days, six days a week.

Delo first met Colin Elvin back in the Philippines, when he came in for a massage. He had a massage therapy clinic in Australia, Canberra Foot and Thai, and he was there to offer sponsorship to Delo and some of her other colleagues. Many of the women,  including Delo, leapt at the opportunity to earn better incomes for their families.

When Delo and the other Filipino massage therapists first arrived in Canberra, they were driven to a house for six days of training. None of them were allowed outside - not even into the backyard. They started at Canberra Foot and Thai the following week, working twelve hour days, six days a week.

Within their first week of work, the massage therapists were relocated to a house where they would all live - so long as they abided by Colin’s rules. If anyone broke these rules or failed to report a breach, they would be put on the next plane back to the Philippines. The workers allege that Colin exercised further control by taking their passports.

According to the rules, Delo and the other women weren’t allowed to leave the house, except on their days off; couldn’t stay out past 5:00pm on those days off; allegedly had to give Colin $800 out of their wages every fortnight (reducing their income to about $500/week); couldn’t use mobiles past midnight; weren’t permitted to shop for themselves; couldn’t have any friends; were prohibited from having boyfriends.

Bart also worked for Colin, but unlike Delo, he had immigrated to Australia in his teens and so did not depend on sponsorship. Colin hired him to do the maintenance and laundry for the shop, and this was how he and Delo met. In 2015, they started dating, but other than Delo’s best friend, Irene, no one else knew about their relationship. Bart was aware of the rules, and in the past, had been asked to trail and report back on other women Colin suspected
were breaking the rules.

Irene grew anxious that Colin would discover the relationship, and in turn, that she had failed to report the breach. Irene pleaded with Delo to stop seeing Bart, but her friend ignored the warnings. Eventually, the pressure became too great, as Irene’s family needed the money she was sending home, and so she reported them.

When the couple learned that Colin was going to fire Delo, and then put her on a plane home the very next day, they formed a plan. Around midnight, Delo grabbed her few belongings - her phone and wallet, her rosary, Santa Ninyo and Mama Mary - and ran outside, where Bart was waiting in a convoy of three cars, driven by their friends. Del’s escape was the first of several, with other Filipinos fleeing Colin and his house.

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ANG KWENTO NG PANANAMANTALA, PANDARAYA, PAGPAPATALSIK, PAG-IBIG

Nakilala ni Delo si Colin Elvin sa Pilipinas, nang magpunta ang huli sa parlour para magpamasahe. Pagmamay-ari nya ang Canberra Foot and Thai sa Australia, nagsadya ang huli para alukin si Delo at ang iba pa nitong kasamahan ng sponsorship. Maraming kababaihan ang sumunggab sa kaaya-ayang pagkakataon upang kumita ng malaking halaga para sa pamilya. 

Nang unang nakarating si Delo at ang ibang masahista sa Canberra, hinatid sila sa isang bahay para mag – sanay sa loob ng anim na araw. Walang sinuman ang maaaring lumabas ng bahay, kahit man sa likod – bahay. Nag-simula silang magtrabaho sa Canberra Foot and Thai ng sumunod na linggo. Pinagta-trabaho sila ng dose oras sa isang araw, at anim na araw sa isang linggo. 

Patakaran

Sa unang linggo ng kanilang pagtatrabaho, nilipat ang mga masahista sa iisang bahay na kung saan sila maninirahan – na kung saan ay susundin nila ang mga alituntunin ni Colin. Kung sino man ang lumabag sa patakaran o may kinalaman sa pagsuway sa kautusan ay pauuwiin pabalik ng Pilipinas. Sinamantala ni Colin ang kanyang kapangyarihan sa pamamagitan ng pagkuha at pagtago nito ng kanilang mga pasaporte.


Ayon sa panuntunan, si Delo at ang iba pang kababaihan ay hindi pinahihintulutang lumabas ng bahay, maliban lamang kung day-off. Ngunit kahit day-off nila, sila ay kinakailangang makabalik sa bahay ng hindi lalagpas ng alas-singko ng hapon. Tinitiyak din ni Colin na ibibigay ng mga trabahante ang $800 mula sa kanilang sahod kada kinsenas (nangangahulugang, $500/linggo ang matitira sa kanilang kita). Hindi rin maaaring gumamit ng cellphone si Delo at ang ibang kasamahan pag lagpas ng alas dose ng hatinggabi; bawal magpunta sa shop mag-isa; hindi pwedeng makipagkaibigan at bawal makipag-relasyon.

Pag-ibig

Si Bart ay isa sa empleyado ni Colin, ngunit hindi kagaya ni Delo, nag-migrate si Bart sa Australia noong kanyang kabataan. Ang trabaho ni Bart ay ang pagpapanatili at paglalaba sa shop. Dito nagsimula ang kwentong pag-ibig nina Delo at Bart, taong 2015. Maliban kay Irene, ang matalik na kaibigan ni Delo, ay walang sinuman ang nakakaalam ng kanilang relasyon. Hindi lingid kay Bart ang paraan ng pamamahala ni Colin sa mga masahista. Dati, inuutusan pa si Bart ni Colin na sundan at isumbong kay Colin ang mga babaeng sa tingin nitong sumusuway.

Nabahala si Irene na baka madiskubre ni Colin ang relasyon, higit lalo kung malaman nito na may kinalaman si Irene sa ipinagbabawal na relasyon. Nakiusap si Irene kay Delo na tumigil na sa pakikipagkita kay Bart, ngunit ipinag sa walang bahala ng kanyang kaibigan ang paalala. Sa huli, tumindi ang pag-aalala ni Irene, napilitan itong mag-sumbong dala ng takot.

Pag-takas

Nang malaman ng magkatipan na patatalsikin si Delo ni Colin at pauuwiin pabalik ng Pilipinas kinabukasan, sila ay nag-plano. Hating-gabi, kinuha ni Delo ang ilan sa kanyang mga gamit, telepono, wallet, rosaryo, Sto. Niño at Mama Mary, sabay takbo palabas ng bahay, na kung saan ay hinihintay siya ni Bart sa convoy ng tatlong sasakyan, na minaneho ng kanilang kaibigan. Ang pag-takas ni Delo ay una sa marami pang ibang Pilipinong lumisan sa buhay – presong karanasan nila sa kamay ni Colin. 

Halinang makibaka para kay Delo at Bart…

Ang mga manggagawa ay ipapaabot nila sa hukuman ang kumpanyang, Canberra Foot and Thai, sa kasong hindi patas na pagpapatalsik. Kinakailangan nila ng ating suporta. Tayo nang mag welga, palakad papuntang Federal Court at saksihan si Delo sa pagbigay nito ng kanyang saloobin.

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