BI intercepts Saudi Arabia-bound underage Filipina
MANILA, Philippines — Despite its drive to prevent the trafficking minors and underage workers, Bureau of Immigration (BI) officers have intercepted a Saudi Arabia-bound underage Filipina.
BI Commissioner Jaime Morente on Friday said its officers rescued the girl at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) Terminal 1.
According to a report by Port Operations Division Chief Grifton Medina, under questioning, the girl claimed being 23-years old. Medina was however not convinced and referred her for secondary inspection.
During the second round of screening, the girl then admitted that she is under 23 years of age. She added that a certain “Rudy” instructed her to lie about her age.
“These syndicates provide everything—documents and even a complete story—to the victim for them to avoid being detected. When we asked her, she shared that she was instructed to say that she is just short, but already has a child,” Medina said.
The victim was immediately turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking for further investigation.
Following the incident, Morente expressed concern over the rising cases of underage trafficking while admitting difficulty in intercepting persons being trafficked.
“This is a cause for concern for the Bureau. Intercepting them is quite a challenge, as these victims are given original passports and work clearances to make it seem that they are older than they really are,” Morente said.
Earlier, the BI ordered its officers stationed at the Naia to be on alert amid reports that syndicates are again active in recruiting underge workers for jobs abroad. /muf
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