Human traffickers instruct underaged OFWs to wear dark lipstick to 'look older'

Published June 21, 2021, 2:10 PM

by Jun Ramirez

Bureau of Immigration (BI) officers at Clark International Airport (CIA) has intercepted three underaged women posing as qualified overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

(Photo by Jakub Chlouba / Unsplash)

BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said the trio, who all hailed from Cotabato in Mindanao, attempted to depart for Doha, Qatar to work as household workers. They were stopped at the airport last June 13.

A report from the travel control and enforcement unit (TCEU) said that the young women presented papers showing they were 28 years.

However, they gave inconsistent statements during their follow-up interview and later confessed of lying about their age to work abroad.

“They admitted that they are only in their early 20s, and were given instructions by their recruiter to wear dark lipstick to make themselves appear older than they really are,” Morente said.

Only individuals aged 23 years old and above are qualified for deployment for domestic work in the Middle East.

“They were told by their recruiter not to fall in line with older passengers so as not to stand out, and were instructed to never admit their real age. This is a clear case of human trafficking wherein unscrupulous individuals would victimize young women for personal gain,” Morente added.

The three were referred to the CIA Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) for further investigation and assistance in filing charges against their recruiters. (With reports from Ariel Fernandez)