BI uncovers another 'third country' human trafficking modus

Published May 18, 2021, 1:51 PM

by Jun Ramirez

Bureau of Immigration (BI) officers have reported the interception of several human trafficking victims bound for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) who were given fake itineraries by their recruiters.

BI Commissioner Jaime Morente (Screengrab from Interpol TV’s YouTube video)


In their reports to BI Commissioner Jaime Morente, the travel control and enforcement units (TCEU) of Manila and Pampanga pointed to an emerging modus involving Filipino female workers who present work documents for Maldives, but are actually going to the UAE.

Morente said this was another instance of “third country recruitment”, wherein overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are sent to one country, but are later illegally transported to another country where they would end up working under poor conditions.

OFWs sent to war-torn countries such as Syria were usually victimized by this modus.

TCEU officers from Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) reported the interception of two female OFWs last May 4. The victims, age 26 and 33, presented valid overseas employment certificates (OECs), work visas for Maldives, employment contracts, and itineraries bound for Maldives.


However, upon verification with online systems, it was discovered that both victims were in possession of valid tourist visas for the UAE. Both of the victims admitted that they received their documents only prior to departure.
One of the victims claimed she was instructed by their recruiter to conceal her UAE visa. She admitted that they applied to work as domestic helpers, but were given documents to work as sales assistants in Maldives.

TCEU officers from Clark International Airport, on the other hand, intercepted another two female victims age 34 and 36 last May 16. They presented work documents for Maldives as an attendant and a receptionist, but were also found to be in possession of visas for the UAE.

One of them confessed that she was promised work as a cleaner in UAE, and that she paid P37,000 to her recruiter for the processing of her travel documents.
Her companion, who was repatriated from the UAE in 2020, admitted that she was heading back there to work as a household service worker. She said that she paid P50,000 to her recruiter.
“This scheme victimizes our ‘kababayan’ and tricks them into accepting offers below standard rates. When they get to the third country, many end up being abused but do not report for fear of being deported,” Morente stated.

 
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