Abused POGO worker says PH government exec behind crimes

A trafficked Philippine offshore gaming operator worker from Taiwan, who was rescued by the NBI together with 30 other workers, tagged a certain “Michael Yang” as an alleged government protector of the company.

Abused POGO worker says PH government exec behind crimes
TRAFFICKED. Lai Yu Cian (foreground) narrates her story before reporters in the Senate, accompanied by Senator Risa Hontiveros, who is investigating alleged abuses in POGOs or Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations. The Taiwanese woman surfaced in the Senate on Wednesday to seek help from her country’s embassy as she claimed that she was trafficked into working for an offshore gaming firm allegedly backed by a ‘very powerful’ government official. Ey Acasio
Lai Yu Cian, or Ivy, 24, recalled that when her bosses got mad at her, they would namedrop “Michael Yang.”

“They say that there are very powerful government people..... that there is a government person to protect their business,” said Lai when she was presented by Senator Risa Hontiveros in a media briefing.

“I heard about once or twice when my supervisor they get mad at me or sometimes they mention Michael Yang but I don’t know who is he. My boss always says, he didn’t explain to me.....just sometimes he shouts at me and in my memories, once or twice I hear the name,” she also said.

When questioned if the “Michael Yang” is also the same person as the President’s former economic presidential adviser who carries a similar name, Hontiveros said her office has not yet verified the identity of the “Michael Yang” that Lai had mentioned.

“We haven’t gone into checking out identities or persons or any other such issue,” said Hontiveros.   

“Right now our main concern in assisting Ivy is the humanitarian aspect,” she added.

According to Lai, she arrived in the Philippines on Oct. 1, 2019 after being recruited by someone she met online to work in an advertising company.   

After being told to travel to the Philippines, she applied and was granted a tourist visa that allows her to stay for 30 days in the Philippines. She was then taken to Circuit Corporate Tower where she worked for a company run by Chinese.   

But a week upon her arrival in the Philippines, she was forced to work for a POGO company, and her passport was taken away from her.

“The job I am doing….I work as an admin. I help my boss...[I’m] in charge of the driver and then housekeeping,” she said.

After she experienced mental, physical and even sexual abuse, Lai insisted on leaving and returning back to Taiwan.

However, her employers confiscated her passport. She attempted to escape several times but always ended up returning as her passport was not with her.

Hontiveros, who previously led an inquiry into crimes connected with Pogos, including prostitution and human trafficking, called for an immediate crackdown of ‘fly-by-night’ POGOs.

The senator underscored that Lai’s story is one of the many stories of workers, especially women, who are illegally made to work in the Philippines by POGO companies.

“We can’t add more crimes being committed to the country. We need to stop these illegal POGO companies immediately,” Hontiveros said.

“Maraming krimen ang nakatali sa POGO: illegal recruitment, illegal detention, at sexual harassment. Kailangang matigil na ang mga ito,” she added.

Topics: Philippine offshore gaming operator , “Michael Yang” , Lai Yu Cian , Risa Hontiveros
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