Pulitzer Center grantee Ana P. Santos and Sofia Tomacruz have won the International Labour Organization’s Global Media Competition on Labour Migration for their two-part series on overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who are trapped in debt. The award recognizes outstanding coverage on the recruitment of migrant workers. This year, there were 350 entries from over 70 countries around the world.
Santos and Tomacruz produced two stories—“The OFW debt trap: Less money, more problems” and “The hanging fate of OFWs buried in debt”—that explore how predatory behavior by employment agencies have led to a “multi-layered duplicitous recruitment process riddled with brokers, lenders and collectors who tuck on fees at every step from application to deployment.” They are part of a Rappler-produced special report, “Migrant life in Qatar,” a Pulitzer Center-supported investigation into the trials and tribulations of Filipino migrants who search for work in the country. Santos additionally produced stories on how migrants are exploited within the Qatari system, where women are jailed for adultery and employees require permission from their employer to switch jobs.