MANILA - The Bureau of Immigration on Tuesday cautioned professionals with the capacity to travel, to be cautious of jobs offered online whether here or abroad amid a new form of human trafficking.
This was after 8 professionals who were victimized by a crypto trafficking ring and who were rescued and repatriated on Monday, the BI said in a statement.
The Department of Foreign Affairs earlier said Chinese criminals running cryptocurrency scams in Southeast Asia are targeting Filipinos to work for them because of their English language and computer skills.
The BI said recruits were required to develop relationships with their targets via social media to entice them to invest in a pseudo-crypto account. Failure to do so will result in punishments, the agency said.
These networks reportedly operate in Myanmar, Laos, and Cambodia, it added.
“This is a new form of trafficking that targets young, urban professionals who have the capacity to travel abroad. Professionals are now being lured by promises of good salaries and other incentives, only to be embroiled in this scam,” BI Commissioner Norman Tansingco said.
“These highly-educated professionals would not even think that they would be vulnerable and be trafficked, as they are merely exploring opportunities that they may have encountered online,” he added.
Tansingco also ordered the BI's Travel Control and Enforcement (TCEU) to look into the records of the repatriated Filipinos who were victimized.
Out of the total repatriates, 4 are males and 4 are females. One of the males left as a registered OFW in Dubai last 2019, while the other 3 left as tourists in 2016, 2019 and 2021 to visit immediate family but has not returned since, the BI said.
Senator Risa Hontiveros earlier said some victims reached out to her office for help after being tricked to become "crypto scammers."