BI intercepts 3 suspected trafficking victims recruited via Facebook

Published September 14, 2021, 12:39 PM

by Jun Ramirez

Three women supposedly bound to United Arab Emirates (UAE) have been rescued after they were stopped from leaving the country over reports that they are victims of human trafficking.

In a report to Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente, the Bureau of Immigration’sTravel Control and Enforcement Unit (TCEU) at the Clark International Airport stated that the passengers were intercepted last Friday as they attempted to board an Emirates flight to Dubai.

The women presented themselves as tourists during primary inspection, but later admitted they were going to workers as domestic workers in UAE.

All of them had valid UAE tourist visas and return tickets to make it appear they were merely vacationing to Dubai.

When interviewed, however, the women confessed that they were recruited to work overseas without securing the required overseas work permits from the government.

They added that they received instructions from their handler via Facebook and that they received copies of their visa and return ticket through the internet.

According to the victims, they did not pay any amount to their agent, but the expenses will be deducted from their salaries.

“This is a form of debt bondage,” said Morente. “Hindi ka pa nakaka-alis may utang ka na,” Morente said.

He said In many cases, victims are charged by their recruiters exorbitant amounts which they are unable to immediately pay off, further locking them to their employers despite horrible working conditions.

The passengers were subsequently turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) for further investigation.

Morente warned members of human trafficking syndicates that the heightened vigilance of the BI is not only confined at the airport in Manila but in the other international ports as well.