DMW looking into alleged trafficking of Filipinos to Cambodia, Laos for crypto scam

Davinci Maru, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 30 2022 01:27 PM | Updated as of Nov 30 2022 01:33 PM

Courtesy of Sen. Risa Hontiveros
Courtesy of Sen. Risa Hontiveros

MANILA — The Department of Migrant Workers is also looking into a supposed human trafficking scheme wherein Chinese companies are allegedly recruiting Filipinos to work in Cambodia and Laos for cryptocurrency scams, its head said Wednesday.

DMW Secretary Susan "Toots" Ople issued the statement after the Philippine government rescued at least 12 Filipinos from a syndicate operating in Myanmar.

"We are looking at not just Myanmar. We are also looking at Cambodia and Laos," Ople told ANC's "Headstart".

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration has issued an advisory against online offers such as "data encoders" and "customer service relations" in these Southeast Asian nations.

"The POEA has issued an advisory, cautioning our OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) especially the job applicants, against these online recruitment for our workers to illegally go and be employed in these so-called cryptotechnoparks in very remote areas in Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar," Ople said.

The online illegal recruitment scheme was earlier disclosed by Sen. Risa Hontiveros after one of the victims sought her office's help.

Citing statements from the victims, Ople said the workers were lured with a monthly salary of P40,0000 for six months. They were told to use dating apps and cultivate relations with "eligibles" or potential investors.

"Magpapanggap kahit lalaki. Meron nang ready-made na litrato ng isang Chinese, model-type ang itsura, very virginal, 'yung napaka-innocent ng itsura. 'Yun ang nilalagay nila. This is really from start to end. It's a scam," she said.

Some of the victims were not paid for their work.

"I believe that this is really the work of, as Sen. Risa said, it's a syndicate that's well-versed in how to use online platforms and also how to remove any traces of evidence that can be found online," Ople said.

Following the incident, the DMW assured the victims they would be provided with legal jobs.

"So, I told them, magpahinga muna kayo and then, let’s meet again. Give us your CVs (curriculum vitaes)," Ople said.

The victims will also be given financial assistance and provided with psychosocial counseling.

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