Home Migrant News Filipino Victims of Myanmar’s Cyber Hell Recount Scam Hub Nightmare

Filipino Victims of Myanmar’s Cyber Hell Recount Scam Hub Nightmare

Filipino Victims of Myanmar's Cyber Hell Recount Scam Hub Nightmare

MANILA — Six Filipinos lured into Myanmar’s shadowy world of online scam operations returned home this week, recounting horrific tales of abuse and captivity at the hands of criminal syndicates running illicit enterprises from the crisis-ridden nation.

The four men and two women, repatriated on April 4, had originally traveled to Myanmar as tourists in 2023 after being promised high-paying jobs. But their dreams of steady income quickly turned into a nightmare of exploitation and deceit.

Speaking to reporters after arriving at Manila’s airport, the victims described being forced to work grueling shifts, confined in cramped quarters, and subjected to beatings and psychological torment when they failed to meet quotas for scamming victims online.

“We were treated like slaves,” said one man, who asked not to be identified for safety reasons. “If we didn’t make sales, they would deprive us of food and water for days.”

The Bureau of Immigration, which facilitated the repatriations, said the six received little to no salary and endured “physical and psychological abuse” at the hands of their captors.

The ordeal underscores the alarming rise of cybercrime operations based in Myanmar’s conflict zones, where lawlessness reigns and international criminal outfits can operate with impunity. Interpol recently raised alerts over scam centers proliferating across Southeast Asia, ensnaring thousands of unsuspecting migrants with promises of legitimate employment.

“Many countries have already agreed that this is a growing crisis,” said Bureau of Immigration Commissioner Norman Tansingco. “Yet some Filipinos insist on departing as tourists to try out work offers they receive online, only to be duped into working in these scam hubs.”

Tansingco urged extreme caution about too-good-to-be-true job offers, warning, “Stop risking your life for these. Many have already suffered. Do not let yourself be the next victim.”

For the recently repatriated, the memories of their torment linger, even after finally being freed from Myanmar’s cybercrime dens. “I just hope no one else has to go through what we experienced,” said one woman, her voice trembling with emotion.