BI discovers 'human trafficking scheme victimizing OFWs'

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has disclosed another human trafficking scheme that lures Filipinos to travel to other countries instead of going to places abroad where they have valid employment contracts.

“This modus operandi aims to mislead our immigration officers as the victims do have valid employment permits to a certain country where they had previously worked, but actually their intention is to work somewhere else,” BI Commissioner Norman Tansingco said in a statement onTuesday, Nov. 7.

Tansingco said targetted in the scheme are overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) with expiring contracts and who are offered to work in other countries in the Middle East.

Just recently, Tansingco said he received a report that the BI’s Immigration and Border Enforcement Section (I-PROBES) intercepted at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) three Filipinos who fell victim to the scheme.

“Two of the passengers, both women bound for Dubai, were stopped from leaving at the NAIA 3 last Nov. 1 after they admitted that the valid employment documents to Saudi Arabia they presented were just for a show as their actual intention is to work in Dubai,” he said.

 “They expressed their preference not to return to their former employers, thus they want to try their luck in Dubai where they were promised jobs by people they only met on Facebook or were referred to them by their friends,” he also said.

He pointed out that one Filipina OFW was repatriated to the Philippines last Oct. 31 from Iraq. He said the OFW has a valid overseas employment certificate (OEC) and previously worked in Dubai.

But, he said, the Filipina did not want to return to her employer and, because of this, she “scouted for other jobs online, and she was eventually recruited to work for a beauty salon in Iraq.” 

 “However, instead of receiving the $800 monthly salary promised her, she only received a monthly pay of $150 during her brief stint at the salon, which prompted her to eventually seek the assistance of the Philippine embassy in Baghdad,” he also said.