By Jun Ramirez
Seven human trafficking victims were rescued by immigration officers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) after they were intercepted for possessing spurious travel documents.
“These fraud syndicates continue to ignore our warnings. There will be no letup in our campaign against human trafficking,” said Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioner Jaime Morente.
Morente said seven passengers were stopped from leaving the country last week in three separate instances at Terminals 3 and 1 of the NAIA.
The latest interception involved five passengers who pretended to be tourists leaving for Malaysia last October 5 at NAIA 3.
According BI port operations chief Grifton Medina, the victims admitted paying their recruiters fees ranging from P125,000 to P175,000 each in exchange for processing their jobs and travel papers to Australia.which was their final destination.
The passengers were reportedly accompanied by a woman who was also stopped due to pending cases of estafa and illegal recruitment.
‘They also presented fraudulently manufactured employee IDs which were given to them by their handlers to make it appear that they are gainfully employed here and are thus legitimate tourists,” Medina added.
Earlier, the BI’s travel control and enforcement unit (TCEU) reported that a Malaysia-bound woman was intercepted also at NAIA 3 last September 24 for having a spurious United Kingdom visa and tampered pages on her passport.
TCEU chief Timotea Barizo said they also discovered that she was already previously barred from leaving the country on suspicion of being a tourist worker.
On October 2, TCEU members also stopped from leaving an underage overseas Filipino worker who misrepresented her age by falsifying her date of birth.
All seven passengers were turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) for assistance and further investigation.