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Male ‘double trafficking’ victim forced to work as scammer abroad comes home

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Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioner Norman Tansingco announced the repatration of a male trafficking victim who was forced to work as a scammer for a Chinese company in Myanmar.

Identified only as ‘Gio’, 33, he departed in September 2022 with two other friends claiming that they were merely traveling to Thailand for a vacation. However, Gio admitted after repatriation that he was recruited by a certain ‘Liza’ whom he met on Facebook and was lured to work as a customer service representative. He was promised a salary of up to P100,000 per month.

The victim was assisted by officials from the National Bureau of Investigation and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration upon arrival on September 22.

It was learned that after arriving in Thailand, he was transferred to Myawaddy, Myanmar which is in the southeast of the country, close to the border with Thailand.

Gio was forced to work as an online love scammer by attracting foreign victims to invest in pseudo cryptocurrency accounts. He received a salary of P60,000 a month for 6 months, far from what was promised to him by his recruiter.

He was only able to return home after pooling P200,000 from family and friends to pay his company for his release.

Tansingco said that the same modus has been observed since last year, and victims are often promised high salaries but end up in debt.

As early as October 2022, Tansingco already sounded the alarm on the modus targeting Filipinos to work for companies that operate online scams such as catfishing.

“This is a case of double trafficking, wherein the victims are trafficked by making them agree through false promises, and then they will be forced to be part of a scamming syndicate making it hard for them to seek help and repatriation,” Tansingco said.

Itchie G. Cabayan
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