DOJ junks human trafficking case vs POGO firms, officials

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THE Department of Justice (DOJ) has junked the human trafficking charges filed by the Philippine National Police—Women and Children Protection Center against the owners and supervisors of a Pasay-based Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) service provider.

“A careful analysis of the pieces of evidence in this case leads to a determination that there is no evidence of conspiracy, whether expressed or implied, among the respondents. There is nothing in the records that demonstrates any presence of express agreement among the respondents to illegally traffic the complainants,” the resolution read.

Among those cleared were Hu Xian Jie, Sai Sai Kyein, Aeint Shwe Yi Htut, MOA Cloudzone Corporation, Oriental Group Company and Shuang Ma Company.

However, the DOJ recommended the filing of qualified trafficking in persons against Chue Thiri Ngone, a.k.a Christine Chue Ni Quian.

The panel noted that the offender, in a trafficking case, must commit acts of trafficking such as “recruitment, obtaining, hiring, providing, offering, transporting, maintaining, harboring, or receiving a person by any means under the pretext of domestic or overseas employment of training or apprenticeship.”

“All these acts were performed by respondent Christine. There is no showing that respondents Hu Xian Jie, Aeint Shwe Yi Htut, Sai Sai Keyin and the ‘Chinese Boss’ had any participation in any of these acts of trafficking—i.e., recruitment, hiring, transportation, maintaining and harboring of the private complainants,” the resolution read.

Based on the affidavits executed by 13 complainants, mostly Burmese nationals, they were lured by job opportunities to the Philippine being offered by Christine.

Using her Facebook profile as advertising platform, and the Telegram app to interview applicants, all the 13 complainants were hired by Christine.

Upon their arrival in the country on August 30, 2022, they were fetched from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport by two Filipinos and transported to their dormitory at Concorde Village.

Immediately upon arrival at the dormitory, they met respondent Christine, who then confiscated their passports and briefed them of their tasks.

However, none of the jobs they applied for materialized as they were made to work as scammers by downloading and creating profiles in dating apps.

They added they were made to work in three different companies located in Pasay City, and Bacoor City, Cavite.

Christine also warned them that if they resigned, they have to pay P550,000 as reimbursement for the expenses incurred for their plane tickets, visa fee, IDs, board and lodging.

Thus, they continued to work, until they were rescued on September 29, 2022.

“When there is conspiracy, the act of one is the act of all. Absent any evidence that justifies the application of the rule on conspiracy in the instant case, the acts of the respondents shall therefore be considered individually,” the resolution read.