Four posers planning to work in fake call centers nabbed

Ian Laqui - Philstar.com
Four posers planning to work in fake call centers nabbed
File photo shows passengers waiting in line at the immigration area as the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 services more international flight departures and arrivals.
The STAR / Rudy Santos

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) reported that it had intercepted four individuals who disguised as tourists to work in “pseudo-call centers” abroad.

In a press release on Sunday, BI said that its immigration protection and border enforcement section flagged three females and a male on February 17 at the Clark International Airport after they attempted to leave on a flight for Bangkok, Thailand.

“These individuals have good backgrounds and are tech-savvy, yet they chose to be blinded by the offers of these syndicates,” the BI’s press release read, quoting Immigration Commissioner Norman Tansingco. 

Two of the intercepted individuals, according to the BI, are cousins who were recruited on Facebook to work in Koh Kong, Cambodia. They admitted that they were offered a monthly salary of $800 with free food and accommodation working as non-voice customer representatives.

The BI said that the two cousins also invited the two others to join them. To deceive the immigration authorities, the BI said that the nabbed individuals were instructed to pose as tourists going to Thailand.

According to Tansingco, hundreds of individuals were repatriated from other countries that have been victimized by the same scheme. He said that rather than securing decent employment, they often find themselves working in "scam hubs with low salaries," subjecting them to physical abuse.

“Hindi ba sila natatakot? Ang pag-alis sa iligal na pamamaraan ay napakalaking risk, lalong lalo na’t alam na natin ang kinahihinatnan ng maraming biktima,” the BI’s press release read, quoting Tansingco. 

(Are they not afraid? Departing through illegal methods is a huge risk, especially since we already know the fate of many victims.)

Earlier this year, the BI repatriated a couple recruited under similar terms, but they ended up detained and subjected to physical abuse by their employers. They were also forced to pay nearly P800,000 to be released by their company.

The immigration bureau also said that the four victims were handed over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking for assistance in filing cases against their recruiters.

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