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S'poreans among 1,000 alleged trafficking victims rescued

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MANILA - Philippine police said on Tuesday they have rescued more than 1,000 people allegedly trafficked into the country to work for an online casino in Manila.

Chinese, Vietnamese, Singaporean and Malaysian nationals were among those found when police raided buildings inside a compound in the capital on Monday night.

Police said the alleged victims had accepted jobs posted on Facebook to work in the Philippines as “assistants in online gaming”.

International concern has been growing over Internet scams in the Asia-Pacific region often staffed by trafficking victims tricked or coerced into promoting bogus crypto investments.

AFP journalists at the scene on Tuesday saw two police buses and two police trucks parked outside the compound. They were not allowed to enter the buildings.

“This is initially a case of human trafficking,” Ms Michelle Sabino, a spokesman for the Philippine National Police’s anti-cybercrime group, told reporters after the raid.

“Everything will be investigated,” she said, including whether the workers were involved in online rackets.

The Straits Times has approached Singapore and Philippine authorities for more details.

In May, authorities rescued more than a thousand people from several Asian nations who had been trafficked into the Philippines, held captive and forced to run online scams. - AFP

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