BI stops 7 human trafficking victims at NAIA amid Undas rush

MANILA Bureau of Immigration (BI) officers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) have stopped seven victims of human trafficking syndicates from going out of the country amid the surge of passengers during the Undas holidays.

In a statement Friday, BI port operations division chief Grifton Medina said the victims were intercepted in separate incidents this week.

He reported that five of the victims were intercepted at the NAIA Terminal 3 on Wednesday as they were about to board their flight to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia where they would stay prior to their illegal deployment as factory workers in Poland.

The two other two passengers were stopped on Tuesday as they were about to board a flight to Hong Kong en route to their final destination in the United Arab Emirates where they were hired as household service workers (HSWs).

These syndicates are mistaken if they thought they could succeed in bringing their victims out of the country while our immigration officers are very busy servicing thousands of passengers who are vacationing here and abroad during the Undas break. We were prepared for them, hence these interceptions, Medina said.

Ma. Bernadette Catipay, head supervisor of the BI's travel control and enforcement unit (TCEU) at NAIA 3, said the victims were either caught with spurious documents or were hired by illegal recruiters.

The Poland-bound factory workers were allegedly hired by a recruitment agency that was suspended by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) for violating the latter's rules and regulations.

On the other hand, the two Hongkong-bound passengers were caught with fake overseas employment certificates and labor assistance center clearances which they presented to make it appear that they are legitimate overseas contract workers.

All seven passengers were turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) for investigation and assistance in filing appropriate charges against their recruiters.

Earlier, BI Commissioner Jaime Morente has ordered all BI port personnel to double their vigilance due to intelligence reports that human trafficking syndicates would take advantage of the holidays to send their victims abroad. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency