HONG KONG/WARSAW - Filipino workers are increasingly being lured by word of mouth and social media accounts promoting jobs in Poland. 

The first two parts of the investigative project, which were published on Al Jazeera, show how dozens of Filipino migrant workers in various locations – including Hong Kong, the Philippines, and Qatar – were promised jobs in Poland that haven’t materialised. 

Despite paying thousands of dollars in fees, these workers fear they won’t ever be able to reach the European country or get their money back. The stories delve into how migrant workers fell prey to agencies and individual recruiters working across multiple countries.

While the first two pieces were focused on those who never made it to Poland, the third instalment of this reporting project exposes the gruelling working and living conditions that many Filipino workers found after arriving in the central European country.

Based on interviews with 22 Filipino women conducted across Poland, from poultry factories to mushroom farms, the feature uncovers cases of forced labour and exploitation, while charting the life of three workers who travelled from other migratory destinations in Asia. Data and statements showing the extent of the labour abuse faced by Filipino workers were collected over the course of a year. Most of the women interviewed claimed to have suffered some form of exploitation, including wage theft and unreasonable salary deductions, unlawful termination, passport confiscation, and being forced to sign documents in a language they did not understand.

The fourth and fifth installments revealed why Poland has become a gateway to Europe for Filipinos. Some workers, often frustrated by low wages and poor working conditions, have left Poland to try their luck in other European countries – even if that means going undocumented.

© 📸 Xyza Cruz Bacani

Team members

Raquel Carvalho

Raquel Carvalho (Hong Kong) is an independent journalist who has covered Asia and Europe for about 15 years.

Raquel Carvalho

Dan Archer

Dan Archer (UK) has been working as a graphic journalist for over a decade.

Dan Archer

Xyza Cruz Bacani

Xyza Cruz Bacani (born in the Philippines) is an award-winning photographer based in New York.

Xyza Cruz Bacani

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