‘Chinese recruiters lure Filipinos to work as bitcoin scammers in Myanmar’: Ople

Migrant workers Secretary Ople issued an advisory, stating that these “are really forced labor and human trafficking hubs in disguise.”

John Eric Mendoza

John Eric Mendoza

Philippine Daily Inquirer


Department of Migrant Workers Secretary Susan Ople. Senate PRIB file photo

November 25, 2022

MANILA — The Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) on Wednesday warned against an online illegal recruitment scheme where Chinese companies are bringing Filipinos to remote parts of Myanmar to work as bitcoin scammers.

Migrant workers Secretary Susan Ople has issued an advisory against online offers for temporary work in Myanmar “that are really forced labor and human trafficking hubs in disguise.”

This comes as Ople met with the victims of a Chinese call center based in a remote area in Myanmar near the border of Thailand.

According to the victims, they were recruited online via Facebook and promised a monthly salary of P40,000 for six months to work as “data encoders,” “customer service relations,” and “technical support” staff in Thailand.

However, they ended up in a “techno park” in a remote area in Myanmar that took eight hours to reach by land travel and by foot.

Each victim was then assigned to a cubicle and given instructions in Chinese that had to be translated via Google Translate.

They were told to use dating apps and other social media platforms to look for and cultivate relations with potential bitcoin investors.

This human trafficking scheme was unveiled after 12 people were rescued from their Chinese handlers through the coordinated efforts of the Office of Senator Risa Hontiveros, the DMW, and the Department of Foreign Affairs.

“It was actually a communication between one of the victims and the staff of Senator Risa that triggered a lot of things,” Ople pointed out.

Meanwhile, Ople issued instructions to the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, an attached agency of the DMW, to provide overnight accommodations to the rescued victims as well as shuttle services to their homes in Metro Manila, and air transit for those returning to the provinces.

OWWA also provided financial assistance in the amount of P10,000 to each of the victims.

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