OFWs with expiring visas being targeted by human traffickers in Myanmar
Manila, Philippines—The Bureau of Immigration (BI) shared that the recent batch of repatriations – both OFWs with expiring visas – arrived from Myanmar on Saturday.
Two victims, a male and a female, were both former overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) who arrived via a Philippine airlines flight from Bangkok.
Both of them were reportedly recruited in UAE, and flew to Thailand as tourists on October 2022 with another Filipino they only met on the flight.
The victims were said to have been recruited by an agent that promised that expenses will be deducted from their salaries. They were offered a salary of around P48,000 a month to work as customer service representatives in Thailand.
Both shared to authorities that they were added to a group chat in the social messaging application Telegram, where they were interviewed and hired by a Chinese national.
But upon arrival in Thailand, a foreign escort fetched them using a 4×4 vehicle.
They travelled for 16 hours and stopped on a riverside to ride a boat, and were escorted by uniformed men until they arrived in the company where they were set to work.
It was only then that they found out that they were already in Myanmar, and not in Thailand as what they initially agreed in.
The victims sought help from Philippine authorities through a former victim who was earlier repatriated.
“We have observed that these human traffickers are preying on OFWs with expiring visas, particularly in the middle east, and are enticing them to work as call center agents in Asian countries,” said Tansingco.
“However we are now seeing that this is a human trafficking scheme, and the victims end up being forced to scam other people and are being subjected to physical torture,” he added.
Tansingco then reminded aspiring OFWs to apply through the Department of Migrant Workers to be able to legally work abroad.