9 Filipinos rescued from trafficking rings in Malaysia and Myanmar back in PH — BI

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 18) — Nine Filipinos who were forced to work in online scams and sex trafficking rings in Malaysia and Myanmar are now back home, arriving in two batches earlier this month, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) said Thursday.

Three of the Filipinos went overseas in 2022 to work as massage therapists in Miri, Malaysia via boat through Zamboanga and Tawi-Tawi. They were then forced to engage in sex work in spa parlors, the BI added in a statement.

It quoted the three Filipinos as saying that after being rescued by Malaysian authorities, they were forced to clean restrooms in a police station where they were also verbally abused.

However, the Filipinos were able to contact the Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, which assisted in their repatriation.

They arrived in the country on May 9.

The BI said six other Filipinos rescued in Bangkok also left in 2022 after they were promised customer service jobs paying ₱40,000 to ₱60,000. They were recruited by strangers on Facebook.

BI Commissioner Norman Tansingco said the victims were transported to Myanmar where they were forced to work in online love scams and crypto rings.

They were rescued and traveled to Thailand after contacting the Philippines' police attache in Bangkok.

RELATED: 6 Filipinos rescued from human trafficking syndicates in Myanmar

The BI said the victims were physically tortured when they were unable to meet their quota and detained until they could pay ransom for their release.

"It is gut-wrenching hearing how they suffered. One of them shared how their parents had to sell their farm land to produce a large-sum of money just to be given to those criminals," Tansingco said.

He reiterated the warning for the public not to fall prey to human trafficking schemes and for those who want to work abroad to secure the proper documents that will protect them against illegal recruitment and other hazards overseas.