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BI probes reported 'scam hub' condos for trafficked foreigners

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Thursday said it is conducting an investigation on reports that some residential buildings in the country are being used as hubs for human trafficking victims.

The BI issued the statement after Senator Risa Hontiveros revealed that large condominium buildings in the Philippines are being used as "living and working" facilities for trafficked foreigners recruited to perform scams on unknowing victims.

“We will be coordinating with the office of the good Senator Hontiveros in locating these scam hubs,” BI Commissioner Norman Tansingco said in a statement.

“As we speak, our people are already on the ground conducting an investigation on these reports,” he added.

Tansingco said he will recommend in the next Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) meeting that each government agency play a specific role in handling trafficking cases.

“There needs to be interoperability in our actions, for a more harmonized approach in fighting trafficking and illegal recruitment,” he said.

Meanwhile, Tansingco shared that the government's efforts against trafficking are “working.”

He said this implies that the efforts of the BI and other government agencies under the IACAT are “not in vain.”

“Our officers are sometimes disheartened to hear negative comments about what we do. But hearing this means what we are doing has meaning.  Less people get hurt, less Filipinos are abused abroad,” he added.

Tansingco earlier said that it will continue to intensify its campaign against human trafficking despite the negative remarks it received on social media.

The BI commissioner said he instructed the agency’s personnel to keep on doing their duties with “dignity and patriotism.” —Richa Noriega/ VAL, GMA Integrated News