OFWs rescued in Myanmar electrocuted, chained, forced to work as scammers

Philippine Tribune
Philippine Tribune



Three overseas Filipino workers who were rescued from human trafficking in Myanmar were electrocuted, chained, and hostaged by their recruiters who promised them jobs as call center agents. 

According to Ivan Mayrina and Mark Salazar’s report on “24 Oras,” their spouses shared their tragic experience in the hands of their employers who made them work as scammers.

They were promised to earn over P50,000 per month, including commissions.

“Sa Facebook, ayun na nagchachat na sa kanila sige kami gagastos dyan sige kami na bahala pagdating doon porsyentuhan na lang doon,” said the wife of one of the OFWs.

The victims were made to travel by boat from Zamboanga to Malaysia, then to  Thailand and finally another boat ride to Myanmar.

“Thailand po pangako sa kanila tapos nagtataka na lang asawa ko bakit siya tinawid sa bangka tapos piniringan daw hanggang nagulat na lang siya may van na sumundo sa kanila,” she said.

“Scammer po sila. Kapag naka-invest na ng buong pera ang tao hindi na nila ibabalik, sa kumpanya na nila mapupunta ang perang yun,” she added.

She said every time her husband could not meet the quota of people they were supposed to scam, they were hostaged for 40 days and were harassed inside the “penalty room and black room.”

“Pinoposas daw po sila tapos bago daw sila pakainin ng dalawang pandesal at mineral na tubig kukuryentihin daw muna sila at lalatiguhin,” said another victim’s spouse.

Like the other survivors, the husband of one of the OFWs rescued said the only way to escape from the place was to pay blood money.

“Kapag nakabayad ka kagaya nung mga nakapagbayad, nakakalabas ng compound bahala na kung sino susundo sayo dun kung police ng Myanmar o police ng Thailand,” he said.

He said they approached the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) but could not get any ransom assistance.

Meanwhile, IACAT encouraged the victims’ families to email them the full details to start the investigation.

Undersecretary Nicholas Ty said human traffickers entice victims with high salaries as they take advantage of the desire of many to get out of poverty.

“Iyong mga passport, pagdating nila sa ibang bansa ay kinukuha iyong mga passport nila, sama-sama iyong mga passport ng mga iba‘t ibang mga banyagang manggagawa, that’s another indication of human trafficking. Tapos kung may mga abuso na nagaganap sa kanila tuwing, halimbawa, hindi sila kumu-quota o gusto nilang umalis, iyan, isa pa iyang badge of human trafficking,” said Ty.—Sherylin Untalan/LDF, GMA Integrated News

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