Eight Filipino trafficking victims in Cambodia now back in PH
MANILA, Philippines — Eight Filipinos who fell victim to human traffickers in Cambodia have returned to the Philippines, Senator Risa Hontiveros said Monday.
Hontiveros earlier said that Filipinos were duped by an alleged Chinese mafia to work as customer representatives or chat support but ended up as crypto-currency scammers in Cambodia and Myanmar.
“Eight Filipinos who were trafficked into Cambodia to work as cryptocurrency scammers are finally back in the Philippines. Lubos kong ikinagagalak na sa wakas makakapiling na nila ang kanilang mga pamilya,” Hontiveros said in a statement.
(I am filled with joy that they will finally be with their families.)
“Maraming hirap ang dinanas nila sa kamay ng mga Chinese mafia. Hindi pinapasweldo, hindi pinapakain ng maayos, at hindi halos pinapatulog. Kung hindi maka-scam ng tao, pinagbabantaan pa silang saktan,” she added.
(They suffered a lot at the hands of the Chinese mafia. They were not paid, not fed well, and hardly allowed to sleep. If they can’t scam people, they are even threatened with harm.)
READ: Filipino trafficking victim in Cambodia speaks up on abuses of Chinese bosses
The victims met with Hontiveros at the Senate in Pasay City on Monday morning to share their stories and express gratitude to the senator for facilitating their rescue.
The senator lamented that the victims were forced to seek jobs abroad as they lack opportunities in the Philippines.
She stressed that “human trafficking victims are victims” amid a lack of consensus on how to perceive them.
“As these crypto scam operations are a relatively new human trafficking scheme in the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) region, there still seems to be a lack of consensus on how we view these victims, some maintaining that they are illegal workers or undocumented immigrants. Human trafficking victims are victims,” said Hontiveros.
“In their hope and desperation, they fall into the trap of human traffickers who prey on their multiple vulnerabilities. Sana huwag na natin baluktutin ang pagtanaw sa kanila,” she continued.
(I hope we don’t distort how they must be viewed)
Hontiveros appealed to Filipinos anew to avoid applying to job posts looking for a customer service agent in Cambodia and Myanmar.
READ: Chat support job offers in Cambodia posted on Facebook is 100% scam — victim
The opposition senator also thanked the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Cambodian police for their assistance to the victims.
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