9 human trafficking victims repatriated – BI | #datingscams | #lovescams | #facebookscams

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has announced the successful repatriation of nine Filipino women who allegedly became victims of human trafficking and endured horrifying experiences at the hands of their employers abroad.

(File photo courtesy of Bureau of Immigration)

The repatriation process was conducted in two groups, with the first batch of six rescued victims arriving from Malaysia on May 9, followed by the second batch of the remaining three from Thailand on May 11.

BI Commissioner Norman Tansingco said the victims had fallen prey to traffickers who deceived them with false promises of lucrative customer service jobs  paying monthly between P40,000 to P60,000  after arriving in the said countries as tourists.

Similar to previous cases of exploitation in Southeast Asia, the victims from the first batch allegedly left the country in the last quarter of 2022 and were transported to Mae Sot City in Myanmar where they were coerced into working in online love scams and crypto rings, according to Tansingco.

The victims were then subsequently subjected to mental and physical torture when they failed to meet the imposed quotas, he revealed.

Additionally, they were held hostage until they could pay a ransom for their release, the BI Chief noted.

All six victims from the first group had been recruited by strangers they encountered on Facebook.

Meanwhile, the victims from the second batch had embarked on a journey to Malaysia via a boat through Zamboanga and Tawi-Tawi. They believed they were going to work as massage therapists in Miri, Malaysia but were coerced into engaging in sexual activities with customers, Tansingco said.

Even after being rescued by Malaysian authorities, Tansingco said the victims have claimed that they were mistreated by policemen who ordered them to clean restrooms at a police station while subjecting them to verbal abuse.

Fortunately, they managed to contact the Philippine embassy in Kuala Lumpur which facilitated their repatriation to Manila.

Upon their return, the victims disclosed that they had been recruited by individuals named “Cherry,” “Juvy,” and “Lorena,” who facilitated their travel arrangements.

Tansingco reiterated his earlier warning for individuals to exercise caution and be wary of accepting overseas job offers posted by human traffickers on social media platforms.

He emphasized that although obtaining the necessary documents for overseas work can be a lengthy process, it provides crucial protection against illegal recruitment and other risks associated with working abroad.

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