DONATE

2022 Assembly

 

International News: Philippines rescues over 1,000 victims of trafficking in raid north of Manila forced to promote fake crypto investments.

 

Sources: NOS News & Le Monde

In a raid north of Manila, the Philippine police rescued over a thousand people, many of whom are foreign, who were often used to promote fake crypto investments.

Philippine police have freed more than 2,700 workers forced to work by cybercriminals in a major raid. The victims come from China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia and other Asian and African
countries.
It is the largest police action in the context of human trafficking so far this year, writes the AP news agency. Agents and commandos raided seven buildings in Las Pinas, a city in the same region as the capital Manila. It is unclear how many syndicate leaders were captured in the raid.

Fake ads on Facebook

The victims were lured with high salary offers and promises about good working conditions, including through advertisements on Facebook. Once they started talking to the people behind the ads, it all
turned out to be a scam and they couldn’t leave.
Some were forced to work for fraudulent online gambling and gaming websites. Others had to scam people into investing in fraudulent crypto coins. If they wanted to stop working, they had to pay large sums of money for unclear reasons, some workers told detectives. According to police, the victims feared being sold to other syndicates and were also forced to pay fines if they committed violations on the job.
In May, police in the town of Mabalacat, north of Manila, also raided a similar building where workers were being held hostage. At that time, some 1400 victims were liberated.

NOS Southeast Asia Correspondent Mustafa Marghadi:
“So-called cyberscam companies are a huge problem all over Southeast Asia. This crime mostly happens in here, but also because the people who are lured to work as cyber scammers mostly come from Southeast Asian countries.
Cambodia, in particular, is known for holding “modern day slaves” in large buildings in the coastal city of Sihanoukville to scam people out of money online. Most of the victims in Cambodia come from China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam. Exactly the people who were also freed
during this rescue operation in the Philippines.
Southeast Asian leaders decided last month to better cooperate against these syndicates. For example, there will be stricter border controls and the people will be better educated not to fall for so-called job offers from people smugglers. In addition, they want to take tougher action against the
human smuggling gangs.”

Link to Le Monde Article: https://www.lemonde.fr/en/international/article/2023/05/06/philippines-rescues-over-1-000-victims-of-trafficking_6025652_4.html

Image source: NOS News, Wednesday 28 June