By Ferdinand Patinio

Immigration counter at NAIA (file photo)

MANILA – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Wednesday cautioned anew those who are wanting to work abroad against a call center trafficking scam following the repatriation of a female victim.

Commissioner Norman Tansingco said the victim, a former online gaming company employee in Clark, Pampanga, arrived via a Philippine Airlines Flight from Bangkok at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 2 last March 9.

The victim disclosed that she was required to pay PHP170,000 for her release and another PHP28,000 to cross the river back to Thailand. The Philippine embassy assisted her repatriation back to the country.

The victim was recruited via Facebook by a Filipino national named ‘Mel’ and ‘Sam’ to work in a call center in Thailand.

She was instructed to pose as a tourist. After a week, she was reportedly fetched by a private vehicle and traveled for 12 hours to Myanmar.

The job was with an online betting company with Indian nationals as their target market, where she worked at least 12 hours a day, without a day off.

She was initially told that she will be compensated USD1,000 to USD1,500 a month, but was instead required to reach a quota of half a million Indian Rupees or roughly PHP330,000, in order to gain commission which will be her main compensation.

“We hear the same story again and again, that professionals are being recruited to this scam,” said Tansingco in a statement.

“This is literally modern-day slavery, and victims were required to pay for their release from the syndicate. We reiterate our call for Filipinos not to fall for this kind of scam, always secure work legally through the Department of Migrant workers,” he added.

The victim was assisted by officials from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration after arrival. (PNA)