POGOs linked to human trafficking in Senate testimony

Some Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) were accused of engaging in human trafficking at an emotional hearing in the Senate.

Senator Risa Hontiveros and Teresita Ang-See of the Movement for the Restoration of Peace and Order (MRPO) presented 23-year-old Taiwanese woman named Lai Yu Cian, or Ivy, who testified about her horrific ordeal.

She arrived in the Philippines last October on a tourist visa after responding to 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 wanna go home, I wanna go back to Taiwan but they forced me to work for them,” she explained, “My boss threatened me and abused me mentally and physically.”

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

Ang-See added, “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 pretenses.”

Senator Hontiveros added 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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