The Department of Justice (DOJ) is set to file trafficking charges against a foreigner over persons who were rescued last year from working at an illegal Philippine Offshoring Gaming Operator (POGO).
A DOJ panel has issued a resolution released this month that found probable cause to indict Chue Thiri Ngone, who uses the alias Christine Chue Ni Quian and Christine, for qualified trafficking in violation of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003, as amended.
“Trafficking in human beings, if only to emphasize the gravity of its hideousness, is tantamount to modern-day slavery at work,” the panel said in its resolution.
With this, the panel stressed that the complainant, even though they are foreigners, “deserve protection of our laws.”
The case stemmed from the Sept. 27, 2022 operation conducted by the Philippine National Police Anti-Kidnapping Group (PNP-AKG) in Concorde Village, Paranaque City that “resulted in the rescue of twenty-nine (29) Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) workers, consisting of twenty-three (23)( Myanmar nationals and six (6) Chinese nationals…”
The resolution resolved the complaint filed by 13 of those who were rescued.
In its resolution, the panel said all three elements for trafficking in persons should be present to determine probable cause: the act of recruitment, transportation, transfering or harboring or receipt of persons across national borders; the use of threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power or of position, taking advantage of the vulnerability of the person, or, the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another; and the purpose of the trafficking is exploitation which includes forced labor or services, slavery, and servitude.
“Evaluation of the sworn-statements of the private complainants would establish the existence of all the aforesaid elements,” the panel declared.
The panel said that, according to the complaints, they got to know Christine through Facebook and the Telegram app.
Upon their arrival in the Philippines, they said their passports were taken away by Christine and were made to stay at the dorm in Concorde Village.
“None of the jobs they applied for materialized,” the panel cited the accounts of the complainants.
“Instead, they were made to work as scammers, by downloading and creating profiles in dating apps such as, Tinder, Meet Me, Top Face, Waplog, Jaumo, Tan Tan, Hinge, Mingle 2, Top Face, Wink, Summer, Muslima, Grindr, Skout, and Ok Cupid, where they would chat and entice clients to play online or buy crypto USDT from exchange apps like Binance, OKX, Coinbase and Trustwallet. The USDT bought will then be transferred or invested in www.odabd.com and ODA1679 platforms which were controlled by respondent Christine,” the panel cited the complaint,” it added.
The complainants also said they were made to work in three different companies and these are Nex Gen Tower, Oriental Group, and Shuang Ma Company which have offices in Metro Manila.
They recounted that failure to meet their quotas resulted in fines between P100 to P200 and “punished physically by having to do 200 sit-ups, electrocuted, beaten, starved, and threatened to be sold to another Chinese company.”
Those who wanted to resign were threatened “to pay Php550,000.00 as reimbursement for the expenses incurred for their plane tickets, visa fee, IDs, board and lodging.”