May 8, 2023 Hector Lawas 322 views

THE Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) of the Justice Department warns the public to be vigilant against human trafficking after Filipinos who worked as “love or romance scammers” in Myanmar were recently repatriated after suffering from physical abuse, threats, and starvation.

Wikipedia defines “love or romance scam” as a fraudulent scheme in which the perpetrator pretends to have romantic feelings towards the target. The scammer gains the victim’s trust and then exploits this connection to convince them to send money, either through false pretenses or by engaging in fraudulent activities.

This type of scam can involve a variety of deceptive tactics, such as accessing the victim’s financial resources, bank accounts, credit cards, passports, email accounts, or national identification numbers. In some cases, the scammer may even coerce the victim into committing financial fraud on their behalf.

The Filipino victims claimed that they were treated like people in military training, and they did not receive proper compensation from their employers who recruited them via social media through a certain “Maxesa.”

The Immigration Commissioner, Norman Tansingco, revealed that a male immigration officer facilitated the couple’s departure from the Philippines, along with another victim who was intercepted during secondary checks.

The officer was removed from his post, and an administrative case is set to be filed against him.

The victims managed to escape from their employers and were assisted by the Philippine Embassy in Thailand.

The couple flew to Bangkok from Singapore and were transported by armed men to Mae Sot City, where they eventually took a boat ride to Myanmar.

Tansingco warns immigration personnel against involvement in illegal cross-border activities and assures that he will defend those who were not involved.

However, he also declares that he will take action against anyone who participated in illegal activities.

The IACAT urges the public to report any related incidents to 1343 Actionline if within Metro Manila or (02) 1343 if outside Metro Manila.