Solon: Filipinos trafficked to Cambodia for crypto scam

January 19, 2023 Camille P. Balagtas 155 views

SENATOR Risa Hontiveros on Wednesday revealed a new hub of human trafficking operations that is allegedly forcing Filipinos to become cryptocurrency scammers.

The senator said OFWs are also made into forced laborers of a Chinese mafia in Cambodia.

The statement came months after the senator exposed that Chinese syndicates were also trafficking Filipinos to Myanmar to scam foreigners into putting money into fake crypto accounts.

“Filipinos are becoming the main target of human trafficking syndicates,” Hontiveros said.

The senator’s office was able to speak with a Filipino trafficked to Cambodia, who has since been able to return to the Philippines.

The Filipino reached out to Hontiveros to seek assistance as there are other Filipinos who need rescue in Cambodia.

According to the Filipino, they were promised customer service or call center jobs. However, just as the senator learned from the victims from Myanmar, the OFWs in Cambodia also ended up being forced to dupe citizens from countries like the US and Canada of their life savings.

“Kapag wala kang nakukuhang kliyente, ang ginagawa, pinagtratrabaho [kami] ng mahigit 16 hours, walang tulog, seven days a week. Meron po akong nakita at narinig ko po mismo na kinuryente na kasamang empleyado,” she recalled.

The Filipino was allegedly trafficked out of NAIA and into Thailand, and was made to ride a van going to Cambodia. Others, she shared, would either fly from Clark airport in Pampanga and into Cambodia, or from Zamboanga and into Malaysia or other ASEAN countries before travelling to Cambodia.

The group of Filipinos to which the Filipino belonged was rescued Monday night by Cambodian police authorities, thanks to the efforts of the Philippine Embassy in Phnom Penh.

Hontiveros has written the DFA to facilitate their speedy repatriation.

“I trust that our DFA can bring our kababayans home as soon as possible. I also expect that we keep closely working with ASEAN member-states to strategize how to effectively put a lid on these criminal activities. It is unacceptable that this devastating scheme keeps roping in our hardworking men and women,” Hontiveros said.

The senator also intends to disclose more details during the next Senate hearing on this particular issue.

“Clearly, this is an industrial complex that involves various actors from around Southeast Asia and beyond. Baka kone-konektado ang mga kriminal na nang-aabuso at nananamantala ng mga Pilipinong nais lamang maghanap ng disenteng trabaho,” the senator said.