Remember ‘Bok Rhymes’ and ‘Smoove’? How the Philippines Recruited Immigrants in the US

It is a common misconception that foreign workers get their jobs from the United States. They do not. Rather, their job is to go and find them. What they find are more like scams.

In 2005, prosecutors went after five Filipino immigrants in Florida — “Bok Rhymes” and “Smoove,” who were paid more than $2.2 million to find the United States. They alleged the smugglers used false promises, decoy work sites and deception about where they should work to capture their victims in the Philippines.

The workers lived in a squalid apartment and were supplied with food and medical care.

One female victim, an orphan, was put in work at a car wash. (You’ve heard of the “American Dream”?) There were four other young women “who were promised brick masons at high paying construction jobs in Florida,” and two “entirely dependent teens tricked into enlisting in a poor-paying job as American Express customer service representatives.”

The “Bok Rhymes” scheme fell apart when the victims asked to come home. Their Cambodian sponsors, then the so-called “Uncle Eddies” figured out the scheme was up. They ran off with all the money.

Leave a Comment