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Hontiveros wants internet-based firms regulated amid human trafficking cases abroad

Senator Risa Hontiveros on Tuesday said internet-based businesses should be regulated in order to help fight off human trafficking syndicates that victimize Filipinos online to work in other countries.

Citing stories of victim survivors in Myanmar and Cambodia, the lawmaker said some Filipinos were promised seemingly decent jobs through social media platforms but ended up in abusive work environments.

“Dahil may crypto scamming operations na lumitaw dito na pinipilit ‘yung ating mga trafficked Filipinos na mag-trabaho, then it means kailangan natin tingnan ‘yung ating mga regulations kaugnay ng internet-based na mga negosyo — kung ano ‘yung proper regulation na dapat gawin dito, ano ‘yung mga obligasyon ng mga internet service providers na mga financial intermediaries,” Hontiveros said in an ANC interview.

(Since there are crypto scamming operations that appeared here and forced our trafficked Filipinos to work, then we should look at our regulations on internet-based businesses — what is the proper regulation that should be done here, what are the obligations of internet service providers who are financial intermediaries.)

Hontiveros last Wednesday revealed that some Filipinos were illegally recruited to work as crypto-scammers in Cambodia, on top of the human trafficking cases of Filipinos discovered in Myanmar.

Miles, one of the victims, told Hontiveros’ office that they were being forced by their Chinese bosses to dupe citizens from countries like the United States of America and Canada, and encourage them to invest in cryptocurrencies.

During her stay in Cambodia, Miles said she witnessed how some of her co-workers were being punished through electrocution.

In November last year, Hontiveros bared the case of 12 overseas Filipino workers who were allegedly recruited by supposed Chinese syndicates to work as scammers in Myanmar.

The senator cautioned the public against illegal recruiters who are offering customer service representative positions in Cambodia and Myanmar. —Giselle Ombay/KBK, GMA Integrated News