By John Rey Saavedra

(PNA file)

CEBU CITY – Nine individuals are facing large-scale illegal recruitment and trafficking charges for allegedly recruiting “farmers” to work in Australia, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI)-Central Visayas on Wednesday said.

Lawyer Renan Oliva, regional director of NBI-7, said in a press conference that the suspects recruited Cebuano farmers enticing them to work at a farm in Australia but none of the recruits was deployed since the recruitment started in 2017.

Agents of the National Bureau of Investigation-Central visayas arrested the nine suspects while they were conducting a seminar for their recruits in a beach resort in Talisay City, Cebu on Sunday, May 12.

They were arrested during an entrapment operation after 40 individuals filed a complaint, he said.

Before filing their complaints with the NBI-7, the complainants first aired their concerns against the recruitment agency on a radio station here which, in turn, endorsed them to the investigation bureau.

According to the complainants, they were promised farming jobs in Australia. They underwent orientation seminar and paid the amount of PHP2,000 each.

The complainants. who are farmers from different towns in Cebu province, were also asked to make a vlog about their experience in farming as required by their employer abroad.

Oliva also asked other victims to show up and file their formal complaint, and that the bureau is investigating further to identify the other suspects.

The nine suspects are now in the holding facility after charges of illegal recruitement were filed at the Cebu City Prosecutor’s Office. (PNA)