Immigration stops five trafficking victims at Clark airport

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DAVAO CITY (May 19) — Personnel of the Bureau of Immigration stationed at the Clark International Airport (CIA) in Angeles City, Pampanga intercepted five undocumented overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who attempted to leave the country in the guise of being tourists.

Immigration operations division chief Grifton Medina said the passengers, all women, were intercepted in two separate incidents last May 8 by enforcement officers Kaypee Enebrad and Virgilio Jr. Notario for attempting board their flights to Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates.

It was learned that three of the women were bound for Kota Kinabalu where they were hired to work as nightclub entertainers while the two were going to work in Lebanon as domestic helpers.

According to the BI, the three were allegedly enticed by a job offer they received online, and met a certain ‘Danilo’ in a mall in Quezon City where they reportedly paid up to P10,000 for their recruitment. They admitted to have been offered to work in a pub in Kota Kinabalu, and that their documents will be given to them in Hong Kong.

The two, on the other hand, presented fake visas to UAE. Upon probing they admitted to have been offered jobs in Beirut, and were instructed by their recruiter not to reveal their true destination.

“Obviously these women have been victimized by unscrupulous human trafficking syndicates that prey on the poor,” said Medina. “We must pursue cases against these illegal recruiters to protect our fellow Filipinos from exploitation in foreign lands,” he added. Medina stated that during Inter-Agency meetings, they learned that victims would sometimes be lured into prostitution, or be enslaved and given salaries far below industry standards.

“Illegal recruiters will put their victims in a tight spot. The victims, knowing that they entered through illegal means, would be forced to agree to the unfair work conditions given to them and would even be asked to pay via salary deduction hefty sums for their recruitment,” Medina shared.

The incident prompted Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente to alert BI personnel in ports outside Manila to be on the lookout for other trafficking victims who might attempt to leave via the same scheme.

Morente suspects that “trafficking syndicates may attempt to divert their operations to other international airports due to the numerous interceptions at the NAIA (Ninoy Aquino International Airport).”

All five were turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) for further investigation and assistance.-NewsLine.ph

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