Two trafficking victims who were recruited through social media have been rescued and are now back in the country, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) announced Thursday.
Immigration Commissioner Norman Tansingco said the couple arrived in the country on April 25 after working as love scammers in Myanmar.
"According to the victims, they were treated like people in military training, even having them do physical workouts under the scorching sun. They also did not receive proper compensation from their employers," Tansingco said in a statement.
The BI said the couple left the country in October 2022 supposedly for a 4-day vacation in Singapore after they were recruited.
From Singapore, they flew to Bangkok and were transported by armed men to take a boat to Myanmar. The BI said the couple escaped and was assisted by the Philippine Embassy in Thailand.
Meanwhile, the BI said the couple also claimed that a male Immigration officer facilitated their departure.
Due to this, Tansingco said the officer has been removed from his post and that an administrative case will be filed against him.
“Pag wala kayong kasalanan, dedepensahan ko kayo. Pero pag nalaman kong may involvement kayo sa mga kalokohan, tatamaan ka. Wala akong pakiaalam kahit sinong backer mo,” Tansingco said.
[If you are not guilty, we will defend you. But if I find out that you are involved in irregularities, you will be held responsible. I don’t care who your backer is.]
According to the BI, two female victims were also intercepted at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 on April 28 and 29.
They have been turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking for investigation and assistance.
“These syndicates have no sympathy or concern at all for the well-being of their victims. They prey on our poor countrymen who are lured to their evil ways because of their ardent desire to earn a living abroad in order to support their families here,” Tansingco said. — RSJ, GMA Integrated News