OFWs warned vs human trafficking

A lawmaker on Wednesday revealed another human trafficking operation which allegedly illegally recruits overseas Filipino workers as cryptocurrency scammers.

According to Senator Risa Hontiveros, the alleged illegal human trafficking operations come at the heels of the human trafficking cases in Myanmar months ago, adding that OFWs are also being engaged in the operations of a Chinese mafia in Cambodia.

Hontiveros has previously exposed that Filipinos in Myanmar were used by Chinese syndicates, luring foreigners from the United States and Canada to invest in fake cryptocurrency operations.

She recalled rescuing some Filipinos in Myanmar who were also abused and forced to work as crypto-scammer in Myanmar.

“We now learn of a similar modus in Cambodia. These fraud factories are part of a disturbing industry that has to be dismantled,” Hontiveros said.

The lawmaker said that a victim in Cambodia reached out to her office to seek assistance about their situation, saying that there are many other Filipinos who need rescue in Cambodia.

The victim narrated that they were promised customer service jobs in a call center.

However, just as the senator learned from the victims from Myanmar, the OFWs in Cambodia also ended up being forced to dupe citizens from countries like the US and Canada of their life savings.

The victim added that she was trafficked out of the Ninoy Aquino Internationa Airport and into Thailand and was made to ride a van going to Cambodia while the other victims flew out from Clark Airport in Pampanga and into Cambodia or from Zamboanga and into Malaysia or other ASEAN countries before traveling to Cambodia.

She was part of a group of Filipinos who were rescued Monday night by Cambodian police authorities, through the efforts of the Philippine embassy in Phnom Penh but they were held at a police station without beds and basic facilities since Tuesday night.

Hontiveros has asked the Department of Foreign Affairs to work for their immediate repatriation.

“I trust that our DFA can bring our kababayans home as soon as possible. I also expect that we keep closely working with ASEAN member-states to strategize how to effectively put a lid on these criminal activities. It is unacceptable that this devastating scheme keeps roping in our hardworking men and women,” the senator said.

Meantime, Foreign Affairs spokesperson Tess Daza said the agency is aware of the incident and is already processing the victims’ repatriations.

“The DFA is on top of the situation and is already processing the repatriations of the OFWs,” Daza told Daily Tribune, adding that the agency is also coordinating with the local authorities in Cambodia with regard to the ongoing investigation of the incident. With Jom Garner

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