BI saves two UAE-bound women victimized by traffickers

Published March 21, 2021, 12:29 PM

by Jun Ramirez

Bureau of Immigration (BI) officers at the Clark International Airport in Pampanga have intercepted two women who were alleged illegal recruitment victims bound for the United Arab Emirates (UAE).


In a report to Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente, the BI travel control enforcement unit (TCEU) said its officers intercepted the two last March 18 as the latter attempted to board an Emirates Airlines flight to Dubai.

According to the report, the victims presented themselves as legitimate overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) with valid overseas employment certificates (OEC) and employment contracts.

However, the travel papers turned out to be falsified when examined by a representative of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) at the airport.

During interview, the victims admitted that they received their employment contract from an agent they met online a day before their flight.

“They were instructed by this fixer to delete all conversations from their phones pertaining to their travel, obviously a ploy to depart through illegal means,” Morente said.

The BI chief said similar schemes are used to illegally deploy Filipinos to a third country (via trafficking at destination country, in this case UAE), such as war-torn Syria.

He said illegal travel groups falsify existing documents of legitimate OFWs wherein the fixer falsifies employment contracts in the UAE, attaches it to an approved OEC, and submits it for primary inspection. 

“We are able to intercept attempts when we see discrepancies in their records,”  Morente added.

Morente noted that fake contracts are presented to evade rigorous checking and make it appear that the victims are being deployed to UAE when in fact they would be illegally sent to a different country.