MANILA – The Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) has partnered with the Department of Justice (DOJ) and other government agencies to intensify its efforts against human trafficking that victimizes overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
In a press release issued on Tuesday, DMW Secretary Susan “Toots” Ople said President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. personally presided the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) meeting held on Monday in Malacañang Palace.
During the meeting, she reported to the President that DMW has been assisting victims of crypto-currency syndicates in filing human trafficking cases.
“Eleven cases of trafficking-in-persons have already been filed with four more cases set for filing in the next two weeks,” Ople said.
She added that one of the accused in the crypto-currency scam that victimized OFWs in Cambodia was arrested last March 7 in San Fernando City, Pampanga province.
Meanwhile, Ople also assured the President that DMW is closely monitoring reports of human trafficking of OFWs in Poland and in other parts of Europe wherein workers are being subjected to long hours of work, low wages, and unsafe work conditions.
“The DMW continues to provide food and other forms of assistance to 39 Filipino workers who were brought to Belgium by a manpower company based in Poland. These workers were recently granted temporary work permits by the Belgian government pending the resolution of their case,” she said.
Ople said the DOJ has expressed willingness to assist these victims of human trafficking from abroad who are determined to pursue criminal cases through the Witness Protection Program.
“I spoke with Justice Secretary Crispin Remulla after the IACAT meeting and he welcomed such a collaboration of efforts with the DMW,” she said.
At the 5th Meeting of the Colombo Process Thematic Area Working Group (TAWG) on Tuesday, Ople informed foreign and local delegates that President Marcos has directed the DMW to intensify its awareness campaign to prevent more aspiring OFWs from becoming victims of crypto-currency scam syndicates in Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar.
“The illegal recruitment is done online and so we need to use social media more effectively to expose these syndicates,” Ople said.
The DMW will be working closely with the Presidential Communications Office (PCO), the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and other government offices such as the DOJ and IACAT for a more intensified education and awareness campaign, she said. (PNA)