By Benjamin Pulta
MANILA – An official of the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Wednesday said recent raids on red flagged Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) have shown many indications of human trafficking and other related crimes.
“Madaming mga indikasyon ng human trafficking na nagaganap doon. Unang-una, iyong nililinlang sila, like sinasabi sa kanila na iyong trabaho na binibigay sa kanila ay ligal, customer service representative, ngunit ang pinapagawa pala sa kanila ay mag-scam – forced criminality ang tawag doon. (There are many indications that human trafficking is happening. First, they are misled, like they would told them that their work is legal like customer service representatives but what they are directed to do scam – it’s called forced criminality),” DOJ Undersecretary Nicholas Felix Ty said during televised Bagong Pilipinas Ngayon forum.
Ty, undersecretary for the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT), said another indicator that raided POGOs are committing human trafficking is the operators confiscated passports and other important personal belongings of their employees.
“Tapos kung may mga abuso na nagaganap sa kanila tuwing, halimbawa, hindi sila kumu-quota o gusto nilang umalis, iyan, isa pa iyang badge of human trafficking (Then there is also abuse, like, when employees cannot meet their quotas, that’s another badge of human trafficking),” he said.
He said IACAT has recorded hundreds of human trafficking cases every year and has rescued thousands of victims “from a variety of different schemes” through the years.
Ty said IACAT has been coordinating with different social media platforms, including Facebook, on how the government can stop traffickers from going online to get more victims.
“At itong mga suspicious transactions na niri-report ng mga enterprises na ito ay maaari ding maging lead or pangungumpisa sa imbestigasyon (And these suspicious transactions being reporter by these enterprises can be used as lead for initial investigation),” he said.
He said IACAT has noted the lack of public awareness on human trafficking which is now the “second biggest criminal enterprise” throughout the world.
“Kung may makita kayong mga red flags na halimbawa, kayo, may mga nagri-recruit na too good to be true, medyo alanganin, eh magdalawang-isip sana kayo. At isa pang importante na kung sa paligid ninyo, kapaligiran ninyo, mayroon kayong nakikita na posibleng nabibiktima ay sana ay mag-report kayo sa IACAT o sa ibang law enforcement agencies (If you noticed red flags like recruitment that is too good to be true, think twice. Another is if your notice a possible victim of human trafficking, report it to IACAT or other law enforcement agencies),” he said. (PNA)