In this Feb. 22, 2018, file photo provided by the Office of the Special Assistant to the President, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, second from left, attends the wake for the overseas worker killed in Kuwait, Joanna Demafelis in Iloilo city, central Philippines. Duterte has banned the deployment of Filipino workers to the oil-rich Arab nation in anger while Filipino authorities are hunting for the local job recruiters of the 29-year-old Demafelis. At left is Joanna's father Crisanto and third from left is her mother Eva. (AP Photo/Christopher "Bong" Go, Special Assistant to the President)

Dead Filipina in freezer spotlights peril of migrant workers

March 02, 2018 - 6:20 am

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — 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 Friday in her family home in central Iloilo province, where relatives, who had alerted authorities in 2016 that she was missing, honored 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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