POGOs linked to human trafficking

Alleged victim claims she was trafficked and forced to work by one of the country’s Offshore Gaming Operators.

Philippines.- A woman has accused some Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) of being involved in human trafficking. She gave her testimony in the country’s Senate.

Senator Risa Hontiveros and Teresita Ang-See from the Movement for the Restoration of Peace and Order (MRPO) supported 23-year-old Taiwanese woman, Lai Yu Cian or Ivy as she is also know, as she testified to politicians that she had been a victim of trafficking.

She said she arrived in the Philippines last October holding a tourist visa following an offer to work as an administrative assistant in an advertising agency, but she was placed in a POGO and soon lost her freedom.

“They want me to work for 24 hours, treating me like a slave. I already told them that I want to go home, I want to go back to Taiwan but they forced me to work for them. My boss threatened me and abused me mentally and physically.”

Agents from the National Bureau of Investigation eventually rescued Lai from a condominium after she was able to get the word out.

“We heard of the many prostitutes who are caught during the raid. Many of these people did not come here because of prostitution. It is human trafficking first and foremost because they were all enticed here under false pretences”, Senator Ang Lee, said.

Senator Hontiveros wrote on Twitter: “Ivy was recruited through cyber fraud; they took her passport and threatened and groped her in front of other men. She bravely shared her story today through her tears. We need to crack down on fly-by-night POGOs because we can’t let crime continue being committed in the country.”

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