DMW urged to intensify drive vs scam job offers online, illegal recruitment

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Manila, Philippines – Sen. Risa Hontiveros called the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) on Monday to conduct an information drive against scam job offers online and to guard against so-called unscrupulous recruiters – even when a recruiter is fellow Filipino.

“The stories of human trafficking that we discuss every year are getting worse and worse. As always, my office is ready to work together so that we can put an end to such incidents,” Hontiveros said.

The senator also called before the DMW, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration and DSWD to extend necessary aid or after care such as counseling, legal assistance, livelihood assistance to trafficking victims to help them in their healing and quick reintegration.

She issued the statement shortly after announcing in her speech the news that the Department of Foreign Affairs – Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs has rescued 12 Filipino overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who were victims of a large-scale human trafficking operation by a Chinese syndicate in Myanmar.

Quoting the rescued victims, Hontiveros bared that they were offered to work as call center agents, customer service representatives or data encoders.

However when they reached Thailand, they were instead pulled over by Chinese mafia in Myanmar to work as scammers for people using cryptocurrency.

“If they weren’t able to scam (someone) or extort (money) through crypto, then they are not being fed, not being paid wages, sold to other companies and on top of that, their lives are being threatened,” Hontiveros stressed.

Worst, those who were rescued disclosed that the Chinese mafia has evil plans to create an “all-Filipino team of scammers in Myanmar and other areas” due to the Filipinos’ English proficiency.

“This is why I stand before you today because this is of extreme importance and urgency. These Chinese mafias are making the Philippines an incubator of scammers,” the senator said.

She likewise asked the National Bureau of Investigation and Philippine National Police Cybercrime Divisions to  investigate and track down the admin of the Facebook pages and Telegram groups that are part of the said scams.

“I appeal to you all, and to all the government agencies who are able to help us: if we don’t plug this hole, more and more of our kababayan will be duped, and more and more people all over the world will be scammed.”

“The welfare of our people and our national identity are at stake. Let me reiterate: Filipinos are not and will never be known as a nation of scammers.”