ON SUNDAY, September 10, 2023, GMA Public Affairs presents a timely documentary on one of the most rampant crimes in the world via “Secret Slaves: A Jessica Soho Special Report on Human Trafficking.”
Hosted by the country’s most trusted and most awarded broadcast journalist Jessica Soho, “Secret Slaves” follows the stories of both the survivors and trafficked individuals who have experienced and endured living in the long shadows of human trafficking. Joining Jessica are senior news correspondents Emil Sumangil and John Consulta.
Human trafficking lurks in many corners of the world and it has become one of the most profitable organized crimes. According to the US State Department, thousands of Filipinos – women, children and men are subjected to various forms of human trafficking every year.
In some parts of Southeast Asia, international criminal rings running cryptocurrency scam hubs target and recruit Filipinos to work as customer support representatives. But when they land in Myanmar, they are forced to trick individuals into investing in cryptocurrency. When they refuse or when they do not reach their quota, they are meted out with punishments.
Jessica probes this new and emerging human trafficking scheme which has turned Filipinos into cyber scammers as she hears the harrowing stories of some victims who were enslaved by syndicates.
Emil, on the other hand, visits a scam hub where foreign nationals are forced to perform fraudulent acts while John travels all the way to Thailand and Myanmar to uncover this illegal trade victimizing hundreds of Filipinos.
An alarming global issue, human trafficking does not spare children. The Philippines has become one of the world’s largest sources of sexually exploited children. At least two million children below 18 had experienced online sexual abuse as millions of their lewd images and videos are uploaded and sold online in 2021. Cybersex remains a growing and alarming form of human trafficking.
For several months, the team of Secret Slaves worked together with the National Bureau of Investigation Anti-Human Trafficking Division, Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking, and Destiny Rescue International, a non-government organization against human trafficking, to conduct entrapment and rescue operations involving a cybersex case in Metro Manila.
Meanwhile, in Angeles City, Pampanga, young girls and women are forced to enter the sexual trade due to extreme poverty. Victims are easily lured by sex traffickers through online transactions and are brought to a hotel to meet sexual predators. In some instances, victims are harassed and abused by their clients.
Another illegal trade continues to thrive: the underground trade of kidney selling which has preyed on vulnerable victims. Kidney hunters roam online in search of living donors. Although the government has made it harder for organ traffickers, it has not been able to stop the lucrative underground market with some victims receiving death threats from middlemen and are forced to sell their kidneys.
“Secret Slaves” aims to raise awareness about human trafficking and these stories will serve as cautionary tale that would help the public avoid getting preyed on by unscrupulous individuals.
Catch "Secret Slaves: A Jessica Soho Special Report on Human Trafficking" this September 10, 8:15 pm on GMA and simulcast on GTV and Pinoy Hits. Global Pinoys can watch it via GMA international channel GMA Pinoy TV. (PR)