In November 2009, five Filipino prosecutors from the Department of Justice visited Dubai to attend an international conference.
There, they were welcomed to a party organised by a Filipino woman. They went to a hotel and were greeted by another Filipino who was assigned in the front desk. Later on, they found out that the coordinator of the conference was a fellow Filipino.
The events led to an impression that Filipino women in Dubai were better off in terms of employment compared to their counterparts toiling in other parts of the globe.
And when the group - Amor Robles, Marlet Balagtas, Eden Wakay-Valdes, Elizabeth Berdal, and Lourdes Zapanta - saw other Filipinos shopping and strolling in the mall where many cashiers were Filipino women too, it became easier for them to believe this.
"One of the staff in the conference told us that they hire Filipinos because we are very reliable, hardworking, clean, pleasant, and always smiling," said one of the Filipino workers.
But when the group made a courtesy call to the Philippine Overseas Labour Office days before leaving for Manila, their first impression was shattered.
At the Filipino Workers Resource Centre, which can accommodate about 25 people, they encountered 140 distressed Filipino women dying to go back to the Philippines, but couldn't do so.