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Love scammer-couple who are trafficking victims in Thailand come home

Norman Tansingco

Bureau of Immigration Commissioner Norman Tansingco announced that two more trafficking victims from Myanmar, a couple who worked as love scammers, are now back n the country.

Tansingco said the victims recounted how they experienced physical abuse, threats and starvation as consequences for not reaching their quota.

“According to the victims, they were treated like people in military training, even having to do physical workouts under the scorching sun. They also did not receive proper compensation from their employers,” added Tansingco.

After their recruitment via social media by a certain Maxesa, they left the country last October 2022 purportedly for a four-day vacation in Singapore. The duo said that a male immigration officer allegedly facilitated their departure, along with another victim that was intercepted during secondary checks.

Tansingco relayed that the officer has since been removed from his post and an administrative case is set to be filed against him.

The victims said that from Singapore, they flew to Bangkok and were transported by armed men to Mae Sot City to eventually take a boat ride to Myanmar. The couple then managed to escape their employers and were assisted by the Philippine Embassy in Thailand.

Tansingco warned immigration personnel not to be involved in illegal cross border activities.

“Pag wala kayong kasalanan, dedepensahan ko kayo pero pag nalaman kong may involvement kayo sa mga kalokohan, tatamaan ka, wala akong pakialam kahit sinong backer mo,” he warned.

Meanwhile, the BI also reported the rescue of two women trafficking victims who were intercepted at the NAIA 1 terminal on separate occasions last April 28 and 29 as they were about to board their flights to Dubai.

The victims were stopped from leaving after immigration officers at the airport found that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) employment visa that they presented are counterfeit.

Tansingco noted that as usual, the victims said they obtained their travel documents only at the airport and a few hours before their scheduled outbound flights. They did not know that the papers given to them are spurious.

The BI’s travel control and enforcement unit (TCEU) reported that the two passengers were both referred for secondary inspection after BI officers noticed that the overseas employment certificates (OECs) they presented could not be validated in the database of the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW). Subsequent verification also determined that the UAE employment visas in their possession are also fraudulent.

They later admitted during interview that all of their documents were processed by their recruiters who would then be compensated by deducting their fees from the victims’ salaries.

The women were turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) for investigation and assistance in filing cases against their recruiters.

“These syndicates have no sympathy or concern at all for the well-being of their victims. They prey on our poor countrymen who are lured to their evil ways because of their ardent desire to earn a living abroad in order to support their families here,” Tansingco said.

Itchie G. Cabayan
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