8 Filipinos rescued from human trafficking at Naia
MANILA, Philippines — Eight Filipinos leaving for Cyprus guised as tourists were saved by the Bureau of Immigration (BI) from suspected human trafficking at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) on Saturday, the agency said Monday.
The BI said the Filipinos — six men and two women — were intercepted at the Naia Terminal 3 before they could board a United Emirates Airways flight bound for Dubai en route to their final destination in northern Cyprus.
BI Port Operations Division Chief Grifton Medina said that the passengers, whose names were not disclosed due to anti-trafficking laws, all admitted that their purpose in going overseas was to work without proper documentation.
“Six of them were allegedly hired as cleaners in a restaurant while one of them was recruited as a cook,” Medina said in a statement.
Media said the BI was able to intercept them when one of the women was referred to the Travel Control and Enforcement Unit (TCEU)for secondary inspection by the immigration officer who doubted her purpose of travel.
The passenger initially claimed that she and her companions were traveling to Cyprus for a vacation, but her answers during the interview were inconsistent.
“When she was interviewed, she admitted that she is traveling to Cyprus to work, and she voluntarily showed a message exchange between her and her recruiter discussing the amount that each of them would pay the syndicate for processing and facilitating their illegal travel to Cyprus,” Medina said.
The woman then confessed that they only met each other at a house in Manila where they were “briefed” before going to the airport.
All eight victims were turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking for assistance and further investigation.
With the recent incident, BI Commissioner Jaime Morente noted how illegal recruiters and human traffickers would go to “great lengths” to hoodwink Filipinos.
“This incident shows that illegal recruiters and human traffickers would go to great lengths to fool our kababayans, and would entice them to pretend as tourists, especially during the holiday season,” Morente said in a statement. /ee
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