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Philippine police rescue over 1,000 alleged trafficking victims

MANILA (AFP) – Philippine police said yesterday 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 nationals were among those found when police raided buildings inside a compound in the capital on Monday night.

Police said the alleged victims had accepted jobs posted on Facebook to work in the Philippines as “assistants in online gaming”.

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.

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

“This is initially a case of human trafficking,” spokeswoman for the Philippine National Police’s anti-cybercrime group Michelle Sabino told reporters after the raid.

“Everything will be investigated,” she said, including whether the workers were involved in online rackets.

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

Policemen walk inside a compound of raided buildings in Metro Manila. PHOTO: AFP