Six Filipinos victims of human trafficking who claimed they were forced to work as cryptocurrency scammers in Myanmar have filed criminal complaints against their recruiters before the Department of Justice (DOJ).
The Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) did not identify both the complainants and the respondents.
In a statement, IACAT said the recruiters consisted of three Filipinos and one Chinese national. It said the complaints were filed last May 15.
The victims were reportedly assisted by PNP-WCPC (Philippine National Police-Women and Children Protection Center) and the DOJ-IACAT in filing the charges against their recruiters) for alleged violation of the anti-human trafficking law.
Due to the latest trafficking complaints, the IACAT warned the public “to be wary of online job offers abroad, particularly in member-countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
“We advise (the public) to check the legitimacy of the job offer abroad and the recruitment agency with the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) to avoid becoming victims of human trafficking,” the IACAT stressed.
It said the public should not hesitate to report “any information that may help rescue or assist human trafficking victims and prosecute the perpetrators.
In the case of the six complainants, the IACAT said the victims “were recruited as ‘Customer Service Representatives’ (CSR) online to work in Thailand, but were actually brought to Myanmar to lure foreigners into the cryptocurrency scam.”
“According to the victims, their employer demanded that they pay $7,000 each in cash for breach of contract if they would like to return to the Philippines,” the IACAT said.
“They were locked in separate rooms, their passports and cellphones confiscated, subjected to physical harm by hitting their buttocks and lower legs, hogtied, and starved,” the IACAT added.
The agency said the complainants “contacted their families and paid the Chinese employer in Myanmar.”
“Five of six complainants paid P300,000 each, while the other one was only able to raise less than the demanded amount, but the employer also set her free together with the others,” it also said.