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Teenage girl trafficked into forced scamming in the Philippines

April 2024

Putri*, a teenage girl from Indonesia, was recently reunited with her family after she was brought to safety from forced scamming in the Philippines.

“I’m thankful to be rescued, protected, and reunited with my family again. I’m also grateful for all the people and agencies who have helped me,” says Putri.

Putri was just 17 years old when a friend encouraged her to apply for a customer service job online. The company appeared to be a legitimate Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator.

But when Putri arrived in the Philippines, the company withheld her passport and forced her to scam people online.

"Many young people from Indonesia like me were recruited online, especially through social media. It’s very alarming and it has to stop," says Putri.

Putri was told she’d have to pay to leave – a significant sum she couldn’t afford on her own. She reached out to her family for help but thankfully, before they paid the ransom, the Philippine National Police brought her to safety.

The police took Putri to a government shelter for women and children before she found refuge with a partner of IJM.

After several more months in the Philippines, Putri was safely repatriated to Indonesia earlier this year. Her parents came to pick her up and take her home at last.

IJM is supporting Putri as she re-settles at home, and will provide legal support when she testifies in the trial against the scamming company.

Putri plans to take a Mandarin language course to help her find a job.

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