A man and his three children who were accused of trafficking Filipino workers to Malta have been granted bail, a report on Times of Malta said Tuesday.
Joseph Degiorgio, the 71-year-old father, and his children Paul, 47; Christopher, 42; and Josianne Bugeja, 34, were granted bail on Monday, days after their arraignment on April 21.
A separate report on Malta Today on Thursday said the Degiorgios pleaded not guilty to charges filed by the police following months of surveillance on their supposed trafficking operations through their cleaning company, Mr. Clean, and recruitment agency Maltese Falcon Recruitment Services.
Prosecuting police inspector Joseph Busuttil told the court that the Degiorgios brought Filipinos to Malta for a fee of €5,000 through a partner firm in the Philippines.
"The victims apply from the Philippines, pay €5,000 and then sign a contract. As soon as they arrive in Malta they are given another contract and forced to sign or be sent back," Busuttil said.
The reports said the victims were forced to work more than 40 hours a day and are paid part-time rates if they work overtime. They were also forced to live 12 to a room and pay for food and rent.
Beverly Martinez, one of the victims, said she signed a second contract upon her arrival in Malta in 2014 after signing a contract in the Philippines and paying P250,000 to cover her plane ticket, processing fee, and a month's rent.
She said Mr. Clean retained the only copy of her second contract.
Martinez was paid €800 per month or €4.20 per hour, regardless of the time and date of her work, through check and extras through cash.
Another report by Malta Today said a witness, Eileen Estaban, human resources manager at Maltese Falcon Recruitment Services, claimed that she has been ordered to shred contracts signed by Filipinos before they traveled to Malta.
Testifying in court, Estaban said the Degiorgios were paid more than €1,000 to process applications and received downpayments of €500 per applicant. —Rie Takumi/KBK, GMA News