Sex trafficking via chat groups bared | Inquirer News

Sex trafficking via chat groups bared

By: - Reporter / @MRamosINQ
/ 05:44 AM April 15, 2023

Sen. Risa Hontiveros —Senate PRIB

An advocacy group has asked Sen. Risa Hontiveros to look into the supposed incidents of “self-trafficking” involving Filipinos who were flying out of the country as tourists to engage eventually in prostitution abroad.

In a letter, the Kilusan ng Ligtas na Manlalakbay (KiligLakbay) told Hontiveros that it received information that a number of Filipino travelers had been lured into sex trafficking through chat groups in phone messaging apps and social media platforms such as Facebook.


It suspected that international traffickers and their local cohorts could be operating these chat groups to “prey on hapless Filipinos,” most of them women.


“[W]e seek your help in bringing to light these unsettling reports about ‘self-trafficking’ and sav[ing] our fellow countrymen from falling victims to traffickers,” KiligLakbay said in a letter dated April 11.

“While we commiserate with their plight as victims, we believe that front-line agencies primarily tasked with protecting our borders and Filipino travelers should be supported in fighting all forms of human trafficking, such as ‘self-trafficking,’” it said.

It noted that Hontiveros, who chairs the Senate women, children, family relations and gender equality committees, had previously exposed irregularities in the airports that prompted the Bureau of Immigration (BI) to implement stricter departure processes to protect Filipinos from human trafficking syndicates.

Cryptocurrency scammers

The senator had also revealed that Chinese syndicates had victimized dozens of Filipinos who were recruited supposedly to work as call center agents in Cambodia and Myanmar, but ended up working as cryptocurrency scammers. Immigration Commissioner Norman Tansingco had already warned the public about the modus of human traffickers who were luring their victims with promises of high-paying jobs abroad.

“These transnational crimes are becoming more and more alarming, and I call on everyone to remain vigilant,” Tansingco said.

KiligLakbay said the BI’s efforts in combating human trafficking should be supported as “fewer trafficked Filipinos result in fewer expenses for the government.”


For this year alone, the group pointed out that over P10 billion had been allotted by the Department of Budget and Management for the repatriation program for distressed Filipinos from other countries.

READ: Trafficking cases alarm authorities

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TAGS: Hontiveros, human trafficking, trafficking

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