Authorities in the Philippine capital Manila have arrested more than 2,700 people in a raid on suspected human trafficking. According to police, a building was stormed on Monday (local time) containing people from China, Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia, Pakistan, Cameroon, Sudan and Malaysia, among others. These were allegedly trafficked to the country to work for an online casino.
According to Cybercrime Division spokeswoman Michelle Sabino, police are trying to figure out who among the 2,724 arrested are the victims and who are suspects. More than 1,500 of those arrested were from the Philippines. The operation is the largest human trafficking crackdown in the Philippines to date, Sabino said.
According to Sabino, the alleged victims had responded to job ads on the online service Facebook seeking “assistants for online gambling.” They were forced to work over twelve hours daily for less than 24,000 Philippine pesos (about 400 euros) a month. In addition, they had not been allowed to leave the building.
The Asia-Pacific region is home to numerous companies involved in Internet fraud that put victims of human smuggling to work for them. In May, Philippine authorities freed more than a thousand people trafficked to the Philippines from several Asian countries, held captive and forced to engage in online fraud.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said victims are often recruited with the prospect of “better jobs with high pay and enticing benefits.” They are then isolated from their surroundings and held captive in the world of exploitation without a passport, said IOM Asia-Pacific spokesman Itayi Viriri. The victims are essentially hostages of traffickers and depend on foreign intervention to free them, he stressed.
- source: k.at/picture:
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