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Solon promises to step up the fight against unlawful recruiters.

Rep. Marissa “Del Mar” Magsino of the OFW Party list promised on Wednesday to step up the fight against illegal recruiters and labor traffickers as she moderated a policy discussion with representatives of various government agencies, recruitment firms, and those who had been harmed by the nefarious practices.

In a statement, Magsino said, “It is incumbent upon me to fight these illegal recruiters and traffickers to the very end. I am the sole representative of the OFW Sector in the 19th Congress, the only female legislator to have represented our OFWs (overseas Filipino workers), and the chair lady of the Anti-Trafficking OFW Movement (ATOM).

Many of our countrymen were taken advantage of and went bankrupt due to the enticing promises of illegal recruiters, but they all ended tragically. “Ang daming kababayan natin ang naloko at naghirap dahil sa matatamis na pangako ng mga illegal recruiters, pero kapahamakan ang kinahinatnan nila.”

She claimed that the escalating issues of unlawful recruitment and human trafficking, notably labor trafficking of Filipinos using internet platforms and multi-country transit point schemes, were what prompted the OFW Party list to convene the policy forum.

Three unlawful recruiting victims who had been returned from Laos and Myanmar spoke at the policy discussion on their terrifying experience in the region known as the “Golden Triangle.”

The victims described how they were contacted online by recruiters, flew to Laos and Myanmar via Thailand, and were then made to work as scammers by the organized crime group in charge of the region, luring unsuspecting victims into bitcoin.

Two of the victims claimed that when they said they wanted to go home, five men attacked them and mauled them. One of the victims was expecting a child at the time of the physical assault. The victims were also electrocuted and starved when they failed to achieve their quota.

The forum participants were able to highlight the administrative and policy holes in our current systems thanks to their in-depth narratives.

Having a policy conversation with all associated institutions, according to Magsino, is a practical step toward closing any administrative and policy gaps that might be contributing to the issue.

The lack of jurisdiction to prosecute illegal recruitment conducted online and abroad, the need for a comprehensive law on illegal recruitment and labor trafficking, the necessity of reconvening the Presidential Task Force Against Illegal Recruitment (PTFAIR), and the requirement for more effective multilateral coordination with foreign authorities in Southeast Asia to combat the transnational nature of the crime were some of the areas of concern that were identified.

Illegal recruiters, “be frightened because we will not stop until we put an end to your illegal operations,” said Magsino. “Sa mga illegal recruiters, kabahan na kayo kasi hindi namin kayo tatantanan hanggang hindi nasusugpo ang inyong iligal na gawain.”

The policy dialogue was attended by representatives from the migrant workers, justice, and foreign affairs departments, the immigration bureau, the Philippine Center on Transnational Crime, and the National Bureau of Investigation. In particular, Ryan Sefiane, chairman of the Sol Terra Group of Companies, who played a key role in the repatriation of Filipinos who were left stranded in Bali, Indonesia after being victimized by online illegal recruiters, was present.

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