The Philippine Embassy in Laos has posted a cautionary notice on its Facebook page, notifying all Filipino citizens in the country to beware of job scams that are becoming increasingly rampant.
The citizens have been alerted against applying to any unverified employment opportunities in Laos or its neighboring countries which could make them fall into illegal recruitment and human trafficking schemes. For further information, citizens were asked to look up the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration’s Anti-Illegal Recruitment Facebook page and the official website of the Department of Migrant Workers.
Just last week, a humanitarian group in Malaysia approached its government to urge ASEAN to tackle the ever-increasing instances of job seekers being lured to work in Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, and Thailand and held hostage in horrific conditions. So far, 148 Malaysians have been rescued from Cambodia, 27 from Laos, 16 from Thailand, and five from Myanmar.
Recently a video had also gone viral on the internet where dozens of Vietnamese citizens were seen fleeing a casino compound in Cambodia and men with metal rods were chasing them. In a desperate attempt, the individuals flung themselves into the Binh Di River to reach Vietnam on the other side. Forty people had managed to escape, one person was recaptured by the Chinese guard and unfortunately, a 16-year-old boy drowned in the river.
Unwitting job seekers in the region are usually contacted by syndicates online through attractive advertisements and salaries on offer. But soon after arrival their passports and other vital documents are confiscated and they are forced to scam and extort people on the internet. When victims refuse to comply they are often tortured or forced into prostitution. In some cases, they are also sold to other syndicates or are expected to pay a ransom to secure their freedom.
Like the Philippines, many other regional governments have started taking preemptive steps, to ensure that their citizens are well-informed before accepting any job offers on the internet and also intercept any person at airports or borders if they are suspected to have fallen prey to a job scam.