Philippine police rescue more than 1,000 alleged trafficking victims, including Vietnamese

By AFP   June 27, 2023 | 06:17 pm PT
Philippine police rescue more than 1,000 alleged trafficking victims, including Vietnamese
Officers are seen on standby as police raided buildings in Metro Manila on June 27, 2023. Photo by AFP
Philippine police said on Tuesday they have rescued more than 1,000 people allegedly trafficked into the country to work for an online casino in Manila.

Chinese, Vietnamese, Singaporean and Malaysian victims were among those found when police raided buildings in the capital on Monday night.

People from Indonesia, Pakistan, Cameroon, Sudan, and Myanmar were also found inside the compound.

More than 2,700 people were detained during the raids – over 1,500 were Filipinos.

Philippine authorities are interviewing the detainees to identify who was a victim or suspect, said police Captain Michelle Sabino, a spokeswoman for the anti-cybercrime unit.

International concern has been growing over internet scams in the Asia-Pacific region, often staffed by trafficking victims tricked or coerced into promoting bogus crypto investments.

Sabino said the alleged trafficking victims had accepted jobs posted on Facebook to work in the Philippines "to find players" for online games.

Many of them were forced to work 12-hour shifts every day for as little as 24,000 pesos (US$433) a month, and were prevented from leaving the compound, she said.

Sabino described it as the biggest anti-trafficking raid in the Philippines.

AFP journalists at the scene on Tuesday saw two police buses and two police trucks parked outside the compound. They were not allowed to enter the buildings.

Sabino said "everything will be investigated," including whether the workers were involved in online rackets.

In May, authorities rescued more than a thousand people from several Asian nations, including 439 Vietnamese who had been trafficked into the Philippines, held captive and forced to run online scams.

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