Sex trafficking, coronavirus inspire call for POGO hiring freeze


At least two influential figures in the Philippines are calling for a hiring freeze by Philippine Online Gaming Operators (POGOs). This comes amid growing concerns related to the coronavirus as well as reports that sex trafficking is becoming a growing

On January 28, Philippine Senator Risa Hontiveros showed photos she alleges depicts women that are being passed around using social media chat groups. Including in the posts are “menus of services” which she explained looks like a person is ordering off the menu at a restaurant.

To stop these practices, she called upon the Bureau of Immigration (BI) to suspend all nationals coming from China, explaining that the “scheme that has readily assisted the rise of Chinese criminals in the country.”

Hontiveros is already looking into the possibility of suspending all POGO related activities. She had a growing concern about the economic implications of the operations, but is now focused on “ensuring that there are safety nets in place to protect our women and children.”

During her comments in a senate hearing regarding POGOs, she stated, “We need to act. We need to look into suspending POGO operations because they attract criminals into our country.”

This is not the only issue that has the POGO sector under scrutiny. On January 29, Quezon City councilor Winnie Castelo called for a hiring freeze on people coming from China for POGO businesses in the city. With the suspected number of coronavirus cases increasing each day, the councilor expressed his concerns about how the virus can easily spread to the operation.

However, this is just one of the many concerns expressed by the councilor. In addition, he also talked about the alleged proliferation of prostitution that is being run, according to Castelo, by criminal organizations in China. The virus coupled with these illegal activities are “presenting a dilemma to peace and order,” he explained.

Castelo also addressed the growing concern about “rude behavior” from Chinese workers and guests. “It’s sad to note that these Chinese nationals are the subject of complaints from many of our constituents who had bad experiences with them,” he said.

While there is a concern about the coronavirus, there have not been any confirmed cases of the virus in the Philippines. There are currently 23 persons who are being monitored for having shown symptoms of the disease, but it has not been confirmed that they have contracted the illness.