By Marita Moaje

(PNA file photo)

MANILA – The Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) has deployed a team to Cambodia to assist in the repatriation of 27 Filipinos who were victimized by illegal recruiters.

“The Filipino victims entered Cambodia as tourists as early as January this year. They were informed that they would be working as tech support representatives but were forced to work in an online scamming facility in the O’Smach District located near the Thai border,” DMW officer in charge Undersecretary Hans Leo Cacdac said in a news release on Wednesday.

The DMW team, led by Assistant Secretary Francis Ron de Guzman, which left for Cambodia on Monday, would provide legal and financial assistance, as well as psychological first aid to the rescued Filipinos.

Cacdac said the victims were rescued on Sept. 26, with the help of the Cambodian National Police (CNP).

He said the 27 Filipinos were about to be transferred from O’Smach District to another online scamming facility in the coastal city of Sihanoukville when the CNP intercepted their convoy.

The DMW, in coordination with the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Philippine Embassy in Phnom Penh, is working closely with Cambodia’s Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans, and Youth Rehabilitation in processing and documenting the cases of the victims so they could immediately be repatriated to the Philippines.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Embassy in Phnom Penh thanked the Filipino community in Cambodia led by the Samahan ng mga Pilipino sa Cambodia (SAMAPI), and the Philippine Eagles chapter of Phnom Penh for helping and donating food and other essentials for the victims.

“This is yet another incident in the growing number of cases involving the illegal recruitment of our overseas Filipino workers for illegal online financial operations,” Cacdac said.

Since late last year, the DMW has been cautioning Filipinos seeking jobs abroad against illegal recruitment and human trafficking schemes offering jobs in some Southeast Asian countries, such as Cambodia and Laos. (PNA)