Human traffickers back in business, BI warns

Published September 8, 2020, 10:18 AM

by Jun Ramirez

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) warned that human traffickers are back in business as it recently stopped two Filipinas from leaving the country at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

(PIA / MANILA BULLETIN)

“We are warning our kababayans not to fall prey to the nefarious activities of these syndicates who continue to prey on their poor countrymen amidst the COVID-19 pandemic,” BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said in a statement.

Morente said he had instructed immigration officers at the airport to be more vigilant in preventing the departure of passengers who could be victims of illegal recruitment.

The BI Chief issued the statement after two female passengers bound for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) were stopped from leaving the NAIA last week for presenting fraudulent travel documents.

According to BI’s travel control and enforcement unit (TCEU) head Ma. Timotea Barizo, the passengers were about to board a Philippine Airlines flight to Dubai on Sept. 1 when they were intercepted at the immigration departure area of the NAIA 1 terminal.

The women reportedly admitted they were going abroad to work but the Overseas Employment Certificates (OECs) they presented turned out to be falsified.

She further bared that the incident was only the latest of several interceptions of suspected trafficking victims at the NAIA in the past several days.

“Like other victims we previously offloaded, these women also claimed that their trip was arranged and their documents were processed by people they met over Facebook and that their papers were only given to them outside the airport before they checked-in for their flight,” Barizo stated.

The women were later turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) NAIA Task Force for further investigation.

 
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