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Public Advisory

27 February 2023

Advisory to Filipinos on Illegal Recruitment to Commit Cybercrimes in Southeast Asia


The Philippine Consulate General in Chicago would like to warn all Filipinos in the US Midwest of the increasing number of cases of Filipinos being illegally recruited from the Philippines and in other countries by criminal syndicates based in Southeast Asian countries to commit cybercrimes.

The Filipino victims are reportedly enticed with spurious job offers to work as "Customer Service Representatives" or "Call Center Agents" in Southeast Asian countries. Once they are recruited, the Filipino victims are issued tickets to fly to a Southeast Asian country, from which they are taken to adjacent countries and brought to remote areas. They are then forced to work as online scammers engaged in cryptocurrency and other online scams.

Many of the Filipino trafficked victims who engage in these online scamming activities have experienced abuse at the hands of these criminal syndicates, including physical and psychological abuse; made to work long hours under difficult work conditions; non¬payment of wages; confiscation of their passports, mobile phones and gadgets; and held hostage and made to pay exorbitant amounts of money should they wish to leave.

Some are even threatened with death or cutting off their hands if they do not cooperate. Sometimes they are threatened with harm coming to their families in the Philippines. Some victims were sold to other syndicates, which may be engaged in other forms of slavery, including sexual slavery.

The Consulate General reiterates its warning to the public to be wary of these criminal syndicates promising employment in mainland Southeast Asia. END.