Gambling with lives

Eight Premier League clubs – including Manchester United and Chelsea – are current partners of Asian bookmakers registered in the Philippines. A devastating new report documents in detail the crimes and human horrors behind the inviting facade of these online operators.

By Philippe Auclair

A report on the links between sex-trafficking, prostitution and gambling companies registered in the Philippines was presented last week to the Filipino Senate. Its conclusions are shocking. Tens of thousands of young women, sometimes underage girls are employed and abused in a sex industry aimed almost solely at the huge number of Chinese workers who have flocked, most of them illegally, to Manila to work for offshore bookmakers, of which at least eight are current commercial partners of Premier League football clubs. 

"When a country's borders are made porous by the malfeasance of those charged with protecting them, it is not the wealthy and the powerful who are put at risk. It is the already vulnerable who are made even more vulnerable – those who fall victim to human traffickers and are smuggled out to white slavery rings, those who lose their livelihoods because of the influx of foreign workers on spurious visa arrangements, women and girls who are prostituted to serve the sexual appetites of an exploding market composed of Chinese workers in the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator (POGO) industry."

The opening paragraph of the report tabled by Senator Rosa Hontiveros on Wednesday 26 January at the Senate of the Philippines was meant to shock. It had long been held as fact that the astonishing growth of the e-gambling industry in the archipelago over the last fifteen years was associa...

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