Philippine police have rescued more than 1,000 alleged victims of human trafficking. These people were trafficked into Philippine to allegedly work for an online casino in Manila. The victims included people from various nationalities, as police confirmed on Tuesday June 27.
Those amongst the victims included Chinese, Vietnamese, Singaporean and Malaysian. People from Indonesia, Pakistan, Cameroon, Sudan, and Myanmar were also found when the police conducted raids on buildings inside a compound in the capital on Monday June 26. Police rounded more than 2,700 people during the raids where over 1,500 were reportedly Filipinos.
The detainees are being investigated by the police, in order to determine the victims and the perpetrators, Captain Michelle Sabino a spokeswoman for the anti-cyber crime unit said. There are escalating risks of internet scams in the Asia-Pacific region. In most cases, the victims are coerced into promoting bogus crypto investments. Captain Sabino said the alleged trafficking victims had accepted jobs posted on Facebook to work in the Philippines “to find players” for online games.
It is believed that many of the victims were forced to work 12-hour shifts each day for as little as 24,000 pesos (US$433) a month. They were also barred from leaving the compound. Sabino described the recent raid as the biggest anti-trafficking raid in the Philippines. Adding , “everything will be investigated”, including the possibilities of the workers involved in online rackets. In May, more than a thousand people from several Asian countries were rescued who had been trafficked into the Philippines. The victims were held captive and forced to run online scams.
Remarking in this regard, Itayi Viriri, senior regional spokesman of International Organization for Migration (IOM) said that the traffickers oftentimes ensnared the victims using prospect of “better jobs with high salaries and enticing perks”. “One very noticeable aspect in these online scams, which is different to other forms of trafficking, is that education offers no immunity as we have seen even well-educated professionals become victims,” he said.
Viriri said victims were typically “trapped in a world of exploitation where they endure abuse, confiscation of travel documents, and isolation from their peers.” Appreciating the efforts of the Philippine authorities, he said, “We therefore commend the actions taken by the Philippines authorities to intervene as it is clear that victims are basically hostages to their traffickers and as such rely on external intervention to break free from their captors.”