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BI bares latest trafficked call center agents ended up starved, electrocuted, beaten with pipes and sold

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The latest batch of repatriates of victims of human trafficking from Bangkok were starved and beaten by their employers.

Thus bared Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioner Norman Tansingco, no less, as he said that the seven victims, who arrived on Monday from Bangkok, shared how they were made to work in Mae Sot, Thailand as crypto currency scammers.

He said the victims recounted how they were starved, electrocuted and beaten with PVC pipes for not reaching their quota of investors in the pseudo-investment scheme. It was learned that all of them left the country as tourists to Bangkok or Singapore in separate occasions last year.

On April 1, three other victims were repatriated from Phnom Penh, Cambodia after being victimized by the same syndicate.

The Travel Control and Enforcement Unit (TCEU) disclosed in a report that one of the passengers last left the country in 2019 as an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) bound for UAE while the other two are a married couple who left the country in August of last year under the pretense of travelling for a three-day honeymoon in Thailand. They were recruited to work as Customer Service Representatives in Cambodia in hopes of getting salaries of 1200 to 1500 US dollars.

The said OFW reportedly flew from Dubai to Cambodia without any expense but was subjected to work for a bogus online shopping platform that targets Filipinos before being sold to a cryptocurrency scammer. After which, she was sold yet again to a different company to work as a love scammer where she was not compensated.

Tansingco then shared the experience of the married couple who worked under unjust conditions as customer support personnel for a virtual shopping website that offer high payouts to their customers.

“According to the victims, their employers deceive their clients through a social messaging app where they will encourage them to invest more in their site but would not allow them to withdraw their investment after the first two successful payouts,” the agency head said.

The couple managed to escape their employers and were assisted by the Philippine Embassy in Phnom Penh to get exit clearances and all victims were recruited via social media.

“They were stripped off of their rights to life and liberty. Imagine being sold off like inanimate objects,” he said. “This is modern-day slavery. It is deeply disturbing and must be stopped at once,” Tansingco said, as he once again reminded the public to only transact with legitimate agencies for opportunities abroad.

“Government agencies are appointed to protect and promote the welfare of Filipinos here and abroad. We reiterate our call to please secure work legally through our accredited travel agencies,” he said.

Itchie G. Cabayan
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