BI intercepts three human trafficking victims at NAIA

Published August 3, 2020, 10:50 AM

by Jun Ramirez

Bureau of Immigration (BI) officers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) have barred three individuals from leaving the country, suspected of being victims of human trafficking and illegal recruitment.


In a report to Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente, BI port operations chief Grifton Medina said the passengers were intercepted last week before they could board their flights to the Middle East and Europe.
Medina said one of the victims was bound for Dubai while the two others were destined for Greece, all of them showing intentions to work as undocumented workers.
The victims were turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) for investigation.
According to BI’s travel control and enforcement Unit (TCEU) head Ma. Timotea Barizo, the Dubai-bound passenger was intercepted after the immigration officer noticed that the Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) was not cleared and validated by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration.
Verification revealed that the said OEC was tampered as it was issued to someone else and not to the said passenger.
The victim then admitted that her trip was processed by her handlers and that her documents were only given to her when she arrived at the airport.
Barizo also reported that the two Greece-bound passengers who were intercepted last Saturday also presented fraudulent travel documents, including fake OECs and local employment certificates.
Upon interview, they confessed that their documents were only handed to them at the airport and they were recruited to work in Athens by their handlers to whom they each paid P95,000 in return for facilitating their travel papers.