Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 27) — More than 2,000 workers, including foreigners, were rescued from alleged human traffickers on Tuesday after authorities conducted a raid at a Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) hub in Las Piñas City.
According to the Philippine National Police (PNP), 1,525 were Filipinos while the remaining victims came from China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Myanmar, Taiwan, and Singapore, among others.
The crackdown was launched after PNP’s anti-cybercrime group secured a warrant to search, seize, and examine the computer data housed in a POGO complex.
The document, released to the media Tuesday, gave the police the authority to seize communications and computer data linked to a possible violation of the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012.
PCapt Michelle Sabino, spokesperson of PNP-Anti-Cybercrime Group, said that workers claimed to work for an online casino, with their shift starting at 12 noon to midnight.
The official said only a few of the workers were allowed to go out, believing that those who have no papers or documents were barred.
The POGO complex has board and lodging, the PNP noted.
In terms of salary, Chinese nationals had the highest pay of around ₱40,000 per month, while other nationals, including Filipinos, were only paid ₱24,000 monthly.
Authorities said the victims were recruited through online posts.
“That job posting, they are being recruited to work here,” Sabino said. “They are assisting in online gaming.”
[Translation: The job posting lured them into this work. They’re the ones assisting in online gaming.]
Sabino also said they are investigating if the involved POGO workers also participated in love scam or cryptocurrency scam.